Monday, April 1, 2013

Potlikker Ham Pot Pie

This one's for you Southerners out there who maybe made ham and maybe made greens for Easter and happen to have leftovers that you don't know what to do with.

Whenever I make collard greens, I find it SO HARD to toss the potlikker (for those who don't know, it's the cooking liquid leftover from the making of greens) because that's where all the flavor really is! I tend to freeze it and try to find some uses for it beyond just heating a cup up and drinking it outright.

There are not a ton of options online as for recipes, but I have made these really good Potlikker Noodles (which I may post someday (sorry, the kids are still making it tough to do this frequently)) but I wasn't really in the mood for them. Being that yesterday was Easter and I don't normally do a dinner for Easter, I thought I'd do something with a ham steak I had in the freezer.

I thought that a ham pot pie would be awesome, especially if you sub the chicken broth for potlikker so I went for it.

Turns out it was AMAZING.

Here's how to use up those leftovers:

Potlikker Ham Pot Pie
(Adapted from here)

1 pound ham steak (mine was only 12 oz but worked) You can also use any leftover ham you have.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter (I added 1 teaspoon of bacon fat)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (whites and greens separated)
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup frozen mixed veggies (or just frozen peas and carrots)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
14-16 oz leftover potlikker
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 9-inch prepared pie crust


Begin by prepping the onion and celery.

I chopped the whites off of the greens so they could cook a little more. I also diced the celery pretty finely.

Get your butter/bacon grease on the fire over medium heat. 

Once it foams, throw on the celery and white parts of the scallions.

Let this cook for about 3 minutes or so. As long as it takes you to dice the ham.

I usually find larger ham steaks with the bone in, but this was all I could find at the store at the time.

Having it slightly frozen makes it really easy to dice.

After your 3ish minutes are up, toss in the frozen veggies. I had a bit more than a cup left in a bag in the freezer. Just toss it in and cook for about 5 minutes or until the carrots start to soften.

When your carrots give a bit, add the 1/3 cup of flour.

Cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. 120 full seconds. Don't stop.

Pour the 16 oz (or so) of potlikker into the pan and boost the heat to high.

Go ahead and add the 1/2 cup milk and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.

Give it a good whisk to combine.

Let it come to a simmer and drop the heat to med-high and let it thicken. Give it a stir every 30 seconds so that it doesn't burn on the bottom.

When it's thick enough for you (time and heat will thicken it up more, so if it's too thin for you, just let it simmer for a while) drop the heat to low and add the ham and green tops of the scallions.

Give it a stir, season with pepper (I didn't need any salt in this whole recipe, but check for yours. My potlikker was salty) and cook for about 2-3 minutes so that everything mingles a bit.

Yummy thick pot pie filling:

I used ramekins for mine, but a 9" pie pan would work just the same.  

Just pour the mixture in and top with pie crust. Poke a few holes in each one. 

Yes, I use the scale to make them all the same.

Bake at 425F until golden and bubbly, 20-25 minutes.

My sole complaint about this recipe is that it only feeds maybe 3 people. My wife had one ramekin with a salad, the kids split one, and I had three! I'd double this next time. I had plenty of potlikker left.

I was surprised at how well the potlikker flavor came through but at the same time it didn't overpower the onions, veggies or the ham. It was just this side of salty, which I loved, and the sauce was creamy and a little smokey (thanks to the bacon fat) and surprisingly the green onions worked really well in lieu of regular yellow/sweet onions. They reminded me of pearl onions in a way, but much more subtle.

I also liked the individual ramekins because they create more crust than a big pie, but this would work well in a big pie, too.

Bottom line, this was really outstanding and I'll be sure to make it next time I make greens.



  1. I'm making this ahead of time and freezing it. I've never tasted potlikker, and now you have me curious :)

  2. If you're curious, I use this recipe: for my greens then strain out everything left (after eating the greens) and keep the potlikker.


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