This is a seriously old recipe that my sister-in law gave me back in the 80’s. It popped into my head this morning because I have quite a lot of ham to use up from Christmas, and I do hate waste.
The reason that it’s called Mexican gammon is because when you put the peppers and onions together in the pan, they’re the colours of the Mexican flag (I’d forgotten this until I started to make it this morning, and noticed the colours in the pan :). Of course they’re also the Italian colours, but this is definitely a more Mexican-flavoured dish..
The original recipe called for ham steaks – does anyone remember them? They were two rather watery slices of uncooked ham in a vacuum pack. They were very popular in the 80’s, grilled with brown sugar and a slice of tinned pineapple on top – classy!
I’ve stepped up my ingredients game a little over the years, so I’m using my lovely leftover Christmas ham, and I’ve added the oregano and cumin over the years, but if you can find ham steaks, then use them by all means. I was able to throw this together today for a quick, easy and healthy dinner, just what we needed after the excesses of Christmas. Once you’ve tried this, you’ll make your own changes I’m sure, but here’s the basic recipe to try first..
- 1 deep-sided frying pan or a medium sized saucepan
- 1 large saucepan
INGREDIENTS: This will feed at least 4 hungry people, if you want to stretch it a little, just add another tin of tomatoes, and a bit more ham if you have it.
- 200g cooked or uncooked ham, cut into fingers, fat removed.
- 1 red and 1 green pepper, cut into thin slices
- 1 red or green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 large or two medium onions, peeled and sliced into crescents
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon of ground Cumin
- 1 tin of tomatoes, plus a few fresh ones if you have them (I was using mine up today) or a jar of Passata.
- Splash of red wine (optional)
- Splash of Tabasco (optional) Taste it first and see..
- tablespoon of rapeseed oil, or low fat cooking spray, if you’re being particularly good.
- Basmati rice to serve
- Liberally spray the deep pan and put it on a high heat.
- Put the prepared onions, peppers and chilli into the pan, and stir fry until becoming tender, about 5 minutes
- Add the ham pieces and garlic and stir again.
- Add the Oregano and Cumin.
- Add the tinned/fresh tomatoes and wine if using, and stir in.
- Reduce the heat now and let the whole lot bubble gently and reduce a little while you cook the rice.
- I used to serve this with garlic bread back in the day, but now it’s usually some flatbread or warmed tortillas, and a crunchy side salad. A dollop of crème fraiche is a great addition too..
- Don’t be tempted to add salt until you’ve tasted this – my ham, even though I’d soaked it before cooking, was salty enough for our taste.
- You don’t need to have ham – some nice back bacon will do very nicely if you’re stuck. You can use Chicken thighs for this recipe too.
- This recipe is full of ingredients that are ‘free’ on several slimming plans, and as I use 1 calorie spray, there’s no added fat either. You’d never believe it when you taste it. I was counting as I chopped this morning and there are 3 out of your 5-a-day veggies in there too, not counting the garlic and chilli!