IN planning a dish from any leftover meat, it's essential to present it in a way that does not remind those who are to eat it that it was salvaged from a previous meal. I know of no better way to ``rejuvenate'' a tired ham than to prepare the remnants in a filling that can be placed between two crusts - or topped with just one crust.
America has a heritage of such pies. In England the first ``pyes'' were filled with meat and game.
In the 14th century, the hot water crust was introduced. And by the 17th century, both flaky and puff pastries were being used.
Pastry's main purpose has always been to complement the filling. Here are a few leftover ham recipes that do just that.
Two-Crust Italian Ham Pie Filling: 1/2 to 3/4 pound cooked ham, cut in 1/2-inch cubes 2 hard-cooked eggs, diced or sliced 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese 1/3 cup raw regular rice cooked as directed on package (or 2/3 cup cooked rice) 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1/2 pound ricotta or small-curd cottage cheese 2 eggs, beaten
Mix together ham, diced eggs, Romano and ricotta cheese, cooked rice, and pepper. Add beaten eggs. Stir to blend. Crust: 2 cups flour 1/2 cup shortening 3 eggs (reserve 1 yolk for brushing crust) 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 4 tablespoons water
Cut shortening into flour. Add eggs and water. Divide mixture into two equal portions. Roll out bottom crust. Place in a 10-inch pie pan.
Add filling and cover with top crust, folding in edges to seal. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour. Remove pie from oven. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Serve warm or cold.
Makes 1 10-inch pie.
Ham and Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie 2 cooked, mashed sweet potatoes 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1 cup pineapple juice 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 tablespoons water 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 cup frozen small white onions, thawed 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed 2 cups diced cooked ham
Mix sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon brown sugar until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium saucepan combine pineapple juice, cornstarch, water, remaining brown sugar, and pepper.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to thicken.
Add onions and peas. Cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in ham. Spoon into 1-quart baking dish. Dollop sweet potato mixture around edges. Brush potato mounds with remaining butter. Bake about 15 minutes.
Ham and Green Pepper Pie 1/4 pound chopped cooked ham 3 tablespoons chopped roasted green peppers 2 eggs 1 15-ounce carton ricotta cheese 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle cooked ham and roasted peppers on bottom of 9-inch pie shell.
Beat eggs. Add cheeses.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake on cookie sheet on middle rack of oven for 35 minutes or until done.
Serves 6. Individual Puffy Ham and Cheese Pies 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard 1 egg yolk Dash liquid hot red pepper sauce 1/2 pound lean baked ham, chopped 3/4 pound mild Cheddar cheese, chopped 1 17 1/4-ounce package pre-rolled frozen puff pastry 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Combine mayonnaise, mustard, egg yolk, and pepper sauce in mixing bowl. Blend will. Stir in ham and cheese. Refrigerate until cold.
Follow general directions for preparing and baking puffy pies, dividing ham mixture among pastry squares.
Bake for 30 minutes.