CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Boiled Dinner

My dad was a heckuva cook, and boiled dinner was one of his specialties. He generally made it in the winter, when a bowl of something warm was the perfect answer to the cold weather.

I have many fond memories of big bowls of boiled dinner, served with dash of vinegar. It was a meal in itself and one that everyone in my family enjoyed.

One of the stories we often talk about when I get together with my cousin, Paul Hendrickson, is how his Mom (Aunt Harriet) just loved Uncle Hap’s boiled dinner. If Aunt Harriet found out Dad was making boiled dinner, she would call Uncle Curt and tell him he was on his own for supper. She was coming over to eat.

I still enjoy a good boiled dinner. Just this past week, I threw together a pot using onions, carrots and rutabagas, which were from my garden, along with some potatoes and cabbage from the supermarket and a nice ham bone, with plenty of meat still attached.

I sent a picture of the boiled dinner to my brother, Kevin. He said that he had been thinking about buying a couple of ham hocks, which is what Dad used instead of a ham bone, to make a pot of boiled dinner.

The thought of that would have put a pretty big smile on Dad’s face.

Boiled Dinner
4 small to medium potatoes, quartered or cubed
1 medium rutabaga, cubed
1 small cabbage, chopped
8 to 10 carrots, sliced 1 to 2 inches thick
1 onion, diced
1 bay leaf
1 ham bone (with meat) or 2 to 3 ham hocks
8 to 10 cups water
Place ham hocks or ham bone in pot of water with onion and bay leaf. Cook for about 1 hour over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and cook until vegetables are done.

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