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Gala Holiday Ham & Noodle Ring

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

One ring to rule them all. A nod to the zany ring molds of yore, this gala treat has a velvety texture and exciting, full-flavored pizzazz! It's how you handle a hungry crowd. It's not an advanced recipe, but it takes a little focus and commitment. I promise you'll have fun cooking it up and your party will all go "yum!" when they dig in to this gorgeous dinner spectacular. This is a website exclusive, you won't see this one in my new cookbook!

It makes any party a gala occasion!

Gala Holiday Ham & Noodle Ring

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

Béchamel (white) sauce. Ingredients as follows:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (plus 2 tablespoons later for peas)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 pound ham steak, trim bone and fat, cut in 1/2-inch cubes

2 teaspoons chili powder, divided

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

4 ounces sliced sweet pimentos

Couple of dashes of your favorite hot sauce

8 ounces extra wide egg noodles (about 5 cups dry), cooked al dente

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cup (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 cans (15 ounces each) sweet peas. With mushrooms and pearl onions for extra credit.

1 pound of chicken nuggets! Buy them pre-made, frozen, and prepare, or I fry bite-sized

pieces of chicken tenderloin up quickly in peanut oil using Knorr Fix for Crispy

10 to 12 ounces (or 1 dry pint) sliced grape tomatoes tossed in a vinaigrette dressing

Green leaf lettuce to surround ring on platter

Smoked paprika to dust top of ring (optional)

Thoroughly grease or spray a 9 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch non-stick fluted tube pan (holds about 10 cups). In oven, add 1 inch water to an aluminum or other wide, high-sided baking pan into which you can ultimately set the tube pan.

Heat oven to 350°F.

In a small pot, make the béchamel sauce. Melt 1/4 cup butter, add flour, salt, pepper. Stir constantly over medium heat till smooth, about 3 minutes. Very slowly stir in milk, heat to boiling, cook one minute. Set pot of sauce aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat combine cubes of ham, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar, stir till heated, about 4 minutes. Avoid letting the ham shrink up too much. Remove meat from pan and set aside.

In same skillet, over medium to medium-high flame, heat oil. Add onion, bell pepper. Cook 5 minutes or till softened. Add pimento, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon vinegar, stir another 3 minutes.

Add béchamel to vegetable skillet, add a couple dashes hot sauce, warm mixture over medium heat about 5 minutes, combining thoroughly.

Cook noodles about 4/5 time on package (or al dente), drain, set aside.

In large bowl, whisk eggs together. Stir in béchamel/veg mixture. Remove 1/3 of this combination to a second bowl, add ham and 1/2 cheese, stir. To original bowl with 2/3 sauce add noodles and rest of cheese, stir thoroughly.

Spoon noodle mixture into tube pan, smooth it out so is flat on top. Add ham mixture as final layer, smooth. Set tube pan into aluminum pan with water in oven. Bake 45 minutes uncovered.

During ring bake, slice and toss grape tomatoes in dressing, chill. Make chicken nuggets, cover and keep warm. In a small pot over medium heat add peas, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons vinegar, stir, heat and keep warm.

At end of bake, carefully! remove tube pan from water pan in oven. Using a knife or spatula, make sure noodle ring is ready to release from pan. If pan is non-stick you should be good. Let rest for 15 minutes so it can "find itself" then invert the ring onto a serving platter. Garnish the perimeter with loose or green leaf lettuce. Surround with chicken nuggets and vinaigrette tomatoes and dust ham-noodle ring with paprika for the win! Serve with a nice salad and a big baguette. That's one gala holiday ring!

Fresh out of the oven! Before Ring is inverted onto platter.

One Ring to rule them all!

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