Ham medley was a traditional family comfort-food dinner when my brother and I were growing up. It was a baked casserole with peas, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, noodles, cheddar and jack cheese, and cream of mushroom soup. My version is quite different, especially since I have to exclude dairy and wheat from my diet unless I take anti-histamines and digestive enzyme pills for eating assistance, so my body doesn’t freak out and rebel. Instead of a casserole, I decided to make a saute. The pan I used was so huge, it covered two burners; it kind of felt like I was using a flat grill. I think the bigger pan size maybe reduced the cooking time by providing more hot cooking surface area, which meant all of the ingredients came in contact with direct heat the entire time they were in the pan rather than waiting their turn to be moved down to the heated bottom. Any thoughts?

Vegetable Ham Medley
Serves 4

1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
9 Garlic Cloves, trimmed, chopped
1 Russet Potato, skins well scrubbed, cut into 1″ cubes*
3 – 4 C Filtered Water, as needed
16 oz Pre-Cooked Ham, cut into 1″ cubes
1 Bunch Broccoli, trimmed, chopped
1 C Fresh or Frozen Green Beans, cut into 1″ lengths
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
2 tsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
Sea Salt, ground, to taste
Mixed Peppercorns, fresh ground, optional

*You can substitute the russet potatoes with red or purple potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips or another type of root vegetable. The picture of the browning potatoes is actually of two russets, which was way too much unless you plan on adding more vegetables of other varieties, which I wish I had (I couldn’t run to the store in the middle of cooking), like the ones suggested below.

In a lightly oil-coated large pan or pot with a lid, saute the garlic and potatoes over medium heat until the garlic is slightly soft. Stir in the water, and deglaze the pan. Place the lid on the pan to steam the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are mostly soft but still a bit crunchy. Add the ham, and stir the mixture occasionally with a wide spatula. Fold in the broccoli, green beans and seasonings**. Stir in more water if you need to. Cover the pan again, and let the medley cook for 10 minutes or until the broccoli and potatoes are soft. I found the fork testing method a little deceiving; sometime even though I could pierce the potatoes easily, they were still crunchy when I bit into one. Testing your vegetables for their “mouth feel” or texture by eating a little piece is always more accurate than poking them with a fork; this method also lets you know if you need any more seasonings, too. Always, always, always taste your food before serving it.

**To prevent moisture from getting into your jars of seasonings, do not shake out the seasonings directly into your steaming dish as you are cooking food. Pre-measure your spices and herbs and put them in small prep bowl, so that you can just add them when you need them. Hosts of cooking shows on television are shown doing this all the time. Plus adding your herbs and spices this way prevents them from clumping together in the jars, crystallizing, going stale or worse, growing mold. Yuck!

Notes: If you want more vegetables in this medley meal, you can also add in a 1/2 cup of stemmed, chopped mushrooms, 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen shelled green peas; a stalk or two of celery, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces; a medium or large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces; a red, orange or yellow bell or mild wax pepper (there are several varieties), stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces;  and/or another root vegetable of your choice chopped into 1-inch pieces when you stir in the broccoli.

If you do decide to use two root vegetables, keep the amount of carbohydrates in mind; you may want to add more vegetables, ham or vegetable protein, like beans, to balance out the nutrients in this dish. You should probably also add more of everything else in, especially since you do not want your dish to taste bland or run out of steaming water.