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Kentucky Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy

Who’s your pick to win the 136th Kentucky Derby?

While long held guidelines on choosing my personal favorite help me know in an instant that my pick is Awesome Act I have to admit I hardly know who's running this year. Derby Day has most definitely snuck up on me this time. While the Kentucky Derby is always run on the first Saturday in May, this year’s first Saturday is actually on the 1st of May, which happens to be tomorrow. Generally I operate more effectively with a little more lead-in time.

Luckily I have all the makings of a Derby Day feast in my pantry. Not long ago I ordered some Kentucky country ham from Finchville Farms. They ship authentic country ham from the bluegrass region of Kentucky, not far from where I grew up. Their hams are sugar cured using no nitrates or nitrites in the process. They offer a variety of products from a whole uncooked country ham to a ham that is cooked, boned and thinly sliced so that it is ready to enjoy when it arrives.

Wanting a reminder of the flavors of home without the fuss of a whole ham, I ordered Finchville Farms old fashioned country ham steaks. They came sealed in packages of three large ham steaks each. Stashed away in my cupboard they are ready to offer a taste of the south on short notice.

When I cook the ham I'll make good use of the drippings by pouring in a little black coffee to simmer down into Red Eye Gravy. I'll serve the ham steaks with Southern Style Green Beans, and mashed potatoes or Cheese Grits, not forgetting a side of home cooked Biscuits. For dessert you can't beat my Aunt Hen's "Brownie Pie", a wonderful version of the recipe for a guarded Derby favorite.

Country Ham Steaks with Red-Eye Gravy

one package of country ham steaks
1/2 cup black coffee
up to 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)

Brown country ham steaks in a hot skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) turning the steaks several times until done, being careful not to overcook it in the process.

Remove the ham to a warm plate and tent with foil or let it rest in a slightly warmed oven while preparing the gravy.

Pour the black coffee into the skillet you cooked the ham in. Stir in the sugar, if desired. Simmer and stir until the ham bits in the pan are incorporated and the mixture reduces by about a third. (It will not really thicken but remains more like a flavorful juice.)

Pour the gravy over the ham slices and serve hot.



Ivy said...

Adding the coffee sounds so different and delicious!

Kathy Walker said...

I am so hungry!! This looks great my hubby would really enjoy this one.

grace said...

although i usually prefer a thick, hearty sawmill gravy, there are times when a strong red-eye gravy is just the ticket. your plate of food looks AWESOME.

Cathy said...

What a scrumptious dinner. I haven't cooked a ham in ages and it looks so good. I've never tried red eye gravy...very interesting.

Candy said...

Looks fantastic! We had the wettest Derby Day in years!

June said...

What a feast! It looks delicious!