I have an obsession with ham. Well, okay maybe it’s all pork products, but especially ham. I suppose you can blame it on the fact that I’ve been a terrible vegetarian for about five years. I say terrible because while I’m a “vegetarian,” I have one or two (or five) exceptions to the rule.
Most of the time, if I want to eat meat I’ll go local and ethical (grass fed, hormone free… all of that good stuff) — that solves my problem. But then… I’ll also occasionally eat fish, and anything south of scallop might as well be considered a vegetable.
And really, in the end, if I’m anywhere near an In & Out, Shake Shack, or at home in Oregon (Luigi’s and City Subs, I’m lookin’ at you…) you can forget the whole deal. Fly me a cow from Australia and pump me full of hormones, I couldn’t care less.
I’m still making a difference by being a 75 percent vegetarian, right?
So ham. I love ham… and I almost never seem to have it. Because meat is still a relatively rare occasion in our house, when it does come around it tends to be of the redder variety (who doesn’t love a good steak?). Ham is always kind of an afterthought… but there really is nothing like a good old fashioned ham and cheese sandwich. Add a crispy flaky biscuit crust and that’s it… I die.
Really — I don’t even know where to start with these biscuits except to say that they are really, seriously good.
(… also that I’ve been eating them for breakfast every day this week… 60 percent vegetarian? Does that still count?)
Ham & Cheese Biscuits
Adapted from The Newlywed Kitchen
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup packed shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup diced ham
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or fresh chives if you’re not big on dill)
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons whole milk
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheddar, ham, and dill, and stir in the buttermilk until just combined. (Take care not to overmix, or your biscuits will be tough.)
3. In a small bowl, add the egg yolk and milk and whisk to combine.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle about 1½ inches thick. Cut 8 biscuits with a floured 2½-inch biscuit cutter (or a glass of about the same diameter, turned upside down) and place on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet. The dough will be super dry, but don’t worry… as long as you can keep it together, your biscuits will turn out beautifully. If you can’t, add a little extra buttermilk.
5. Lightly brush the top of each biscuit with a bit of the beaten egg yolk mixture.
6. Bake the biscuits for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Enjoy them when they’re hot out of the oven.