Southern Comfort: Grilled Ham & Corn with Rice

Food touches us in many ways that reach far beyond tangible.  For most of us, foods remind us of something, upholds traditions,  or sets the stage for a certain event.  For example, a road trip to me says get some sunflower seeds or maybe beef jerky.  I can't explain why because I don't eat these things regularly when I'm not on a road trip.

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Another such example is ham and rice.  This is such an easy dish, yet brings back many memories for me.  When I first met my wife she took me to her grandmother's house for dinner.  Her grandmother was affectionately known as Meemaw.  I grew up in the Midwest so I had never heard of a "Meemaw".  What I soon discovered is that Meemaws are some sort of magical creature.  This particular one had an effervescent laugh that could brighten any corner.  And cook!?  Meemaw could turn out southern classics with ease.

One of my favorite dishes was ham and rice.  Meemaw knew how to make the rice just right... not too dry, not too moist.  I was lucky enough to learn how to do this and I have used the method without fail since then.  The rice is then combined with cubed ham and a few spices to bring out the flavors... easy and delicious.

You can serve this dish year round.  For the summer, we update it by grilling the ham and adding grilled corn.  We also like to throw in some fresh herbs from the garden.  This is summer southern comfort food all the way.  Meemaw would be so proud.

savour... grandmother's love

Get the rest after the jump...

Grilled Ham and Rice

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Before you start:

I almost always use homemade chicken stock to make rice.  In today's example I happen to be using smoked chicken stock.  I smoked a couple of chickens a few weeks ago and used the scraps to make a delicious stock which I froze in quantities just right for making rice.  The flavor is outstanding!

You can prepare the rice ahead of time and reheat it just before tossing the ingredients together.

Don't scour stores for pineapple sage if you don't have it.  You could easily substitute other herbs here.  I often make this with parsley or basil.

Either roast the corn with no husks directly on the grill or, if you prefer, keep the husks on and wrap in foil before placing directly on the grill.

Be sure that the corn is not cooked over heat that is too high.  Move it off to the side a little and watch closely.

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The ingredients:

4 cups cooked rice

2 cups cubed ham (1 ham steak) 1/2 inch cubes

3 ears of corn 

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh pineapple sage - chopped

salt and pepper to taste

The method:

  1. Prepare the rice using your preferred method or Meemaw's rice.
  2. Place ham steak on grill and cook through.  Be sure to get some good grill marks.
  3. Chop ham steak into 1/2 cubes.
  4. Place corn on the grill and turn frequently.  Will take about 20 minutes to cook over medium/low heat.
  5. Remove corn from grill and allow it too cool slightly before handling.
  6. Cut corn from the cob.
  7. Chop herbs.
  8. Place ingredients together in a bowl.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Toss and serve.