The Inspired Cook

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Leftover Easter ham dilemma solved

Happy Easter weekend, readers! I hope your day hop along at a steady pace and is filled

with fun, fellowship, and fabulous food.

After your Sunday feasts, many of you may be faced with a bunch of leftover ham and clueless as what to do with it. Anticipating your dilemma, I prepared today’s column especially for you. Trying to think outside the box, I created a chili made with ham, something I never had eaten and wasn’t quite sure I would like. I reasoned that if I adore ham, beans, and chili seasonings, then why wouldn’t I like this chili? And, guess what. Charles, my better half, and I really liked it a lot!

FYI: If you omit the ham, this would make a delicious vegetarian chili recipe.

Spicy Ham and Three-Bean Chili


                1 c. yellow onion, finely chopped

                1 1/2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

                1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chilies

                4 c. cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

                1 t. each salt and garlic powder

                1 1/2 T. chili powder

                1/2 t. each dried oregano, smoked paprika, and ground coriander

                1/8 t. cayenne pepper

                1/4 t. black pepper

                1 T. dried cilantro

                1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

                1 c. water

                1 (15.5-oz.) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

                1 (15.25-oz.) can black beans

                1 (15.5-oz.) can dark kidney beans


 Rinse and drain garbanzo beans. To give a more tender texture to these beans, place into a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Drain; set aside. Put black and kidney beans into a colander and rinse; set aside to drain. Remove rind and fat from ham and cut into 1/2-inch cubes; set aside.

Into a Dutch oven, place oil. Over medium-high setting, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add onion, sautéing until translucent. Add ham; cook until browned. Stir in chilies. Add dry seasonings, stirring constantly until fragrant. Pour in tomatoes, water, and beans; stir.

Bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Top each serving with shredded Pepper-Jack or cheese of your choice.

Yield: 4-6 servings

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