Ham is a popular cut of meat in Amish homes. Most Amish raise hogs or have access to family and friends who do. Their farm lifestyle often involves raising pigs for food, making pork readily available and affordable. Ham features in hearty meals alongside other meats like roast beef and chicken.
🐖 The Amish and Ham
The Amish like ham, but it's in the way they preserve it and cure it that makes it so delicious. Here are some of the ways they cure it.
- Sugar-cured ham: This is a popular choice due to its milder and sweeter flavor. Brown sugar is often used in the curing process, giving it a unique taste.
- Salt-cured ham: This variety has a more intense and savory flavor due to the higher salt content. It's typically aged for a longer period, resulting in a firmer texture.
- Smoked ham: Both sugar-cured and salt-cured hams can be smoked for an additional layer of flavor and preservation.
I love the smoked varieties and ham cured with brown sugar. It's common to see a ham hanging in an outbuilding or basement at an Amish home.
The Amish and Peas
Peas are one of the first-season crops to show up in Amish gardens, but they are enjoyed year-round because many Amish home-can them or freeze them, if they have electricity.
Peas are also prized for their versatility: Peas can be eaten fresh, dried, or canned, providing a variety of options throughout the year. They are also a good source of protein and fiber, fitting well with the Amish emphasis on wholesome foods, although that emphasis has changed somewhat as grocery stores and their processed foods have gotten into the mix.
There are several types of peas most popular on Amish farms (geez, my grandma loved those silver cans of LaSeur peas you find in grocery stores, but, anyway:
- Snap peas: These are popular for their sweet, edible pods and are often enjoyed fresh or lightly cooked.
- Shelling peas: These are dried and the peas inside are removed for later use. They are used in soups, stews, and other dishes.
- Snow peas: These have flat, edible pods and are often eaten stir-fried or in salads.
Combing both these favorites, ham and peas, into one comforting savory pie makes for a super supper, especially on a cold winter's night.
📋 Step-By-Step Ham & Pea Pie
My parents made this the other night and they liked it. Now, they thought it might have been too "hammy", but I tried it and I didn't think so at all. My Mom is watching her sodium and ham can be very salty so she was skittish about eating too much and my Dad, well, he just thought there might have been too much ham. I tried it and I don't think so at all, in fact, if it were me making it, the more ham the better!
This recipe also calls for a pie crust of which you can make your own and if you are going to make your own I recommend the easy pat-a-pan pie crust. But I also don't begrudge you if you "cheat" and just use a frozen one.
You can see, very basic ingredients, true to Amish tradition. Although an Amish cook would be using home-grown and home-canned peas.
The special sauce is where the flavor really shines in this dish. And this is also where you can add your own touches, additional spices and seasonings like garlic powder, thyme, basil, I've been on a big seasoning kick lately. Hmmm, I wonder how Everything Bagel seasoning would be? I'm not sure I've tasted anything that hasn't been improved by a little bit of that genius seasoning!
The hard-boiled eggs are a nice addition to the sauce too. Not the prettiest sauce in the work. Maybe sprinkle some paprika or parsley flakes in just to add color. But who cares, it tastes great!
Mix in the ham and peas next and then spoon it all into a pie crust.
And, yes, if you are like my parents and feel like it is too much ham, you can feel free to reduce the amount. But I love big chunks of ham in each bite, otherwise what is the point?
Once it is out of the oven, it really is a beautiful, colorful ham and pea pie. Next all you do is cut and enjoy and serve! Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days.
🍖 More Amish Ham Recipes
🖨️ Full Recipe
Comforting Ham and Pea Pie
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 2-½ cups cubed, fully-cooked ham
- 1 cup fresh peas
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
- 1 homemade (8-inch) pie crust
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Melt butter in a saucepan.
- Mix together flour, salt, mustard and pepper and stir into melted butter until smooth.
- Gradually add milk and onion.
- Bring to a simmer
- .Cook and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir in ham, peas and eggs.
- Pour into pie crust or 8-inch square or 11-inch by 7-inch by 2-inch baking dish.
- Seal with a top crust and flute edges; cut slits in the top.Bake for about 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.