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    Baked Country Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

    Source of Recipe

    "The Southern Sympathy Cookbook" by Perre Coleman Magness

    Recipe Introduction

    "Ham, mustard, and poppy seed sandwiches have been a party staple all my life, usually made with the little yeast rolls in round tinfoil pans (and you can use this recipe that way as well). I'd seen pictures on the Internet of the Hawaiian roll version, so I made it that way for a book club event. A friend of Southern extraction who grew up in Utah immediately told me that these little bites were called 'funeral sandwiches' when she was growing up, so I felt I must include them in the book. And they do make a wonderful funeral dish, as they are perfect for a buffet or can be kept in the fridge for a family to heat up for a quiet dinner. I've riffed on another community cookbook recipe to make a ham spread, which I think makes these easier to eat. Country ham gives a nice salty bite; but you could use regular smoked city ham."

    List of Ingredients

    ◦ 8 ounces center-cut country ham, cut into pieces
    ◦ 1 shallot, peeled and cut into pieces
    ◦ 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    ◦ 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
    ◦ 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    ◦ 2 packages (1 dozen each) soft Hawaiian rolls
    ◦ 4 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
    ◦ 4 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated

    For the topping:
    ◦ 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
    ◦ ¼ cup light brown sugar
    ◦ 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    ◦ 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


    Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, allowing it to hang over the edges—this makes it easier to lift out the cooked sandwiches. Use a high-sided brownie pan, not a shallower glass casserole.

    Place the ham pieces and shallot in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until everything is chopped very fine. Add the mustard and poppy seed and pulse until blended. Cut the softened butter into pieces and add to the bowl, then process to a smooth, well-combined paste.

    Use a long, sharp bread knife to slice each package of rolls in half horizontally. Do not separate the individual rolls; slice open the whole rectangle. Spread the country ham mixture in an even layer over both of the bottom halves. I use a combination of a flexible spatula and my good, clean fingers to make sure the ham is spread evenly to the edges of the bread. Carefully transfer the covered pieces of bread to the prepared pan. They will fit snugly and you may have to wiggle them in and press them down. Toss together the two grated cheeses and sprinkle an even layer over the ham filling, making sure to reach the edges of the bread. Place the top halves of the rolls over the cheese. Use a thin knife to run through the separations in the rolls to make them easier to pull apart when cooked.

    For the topping:
    Melt the butter, brown sugar, and mustard together in a small saucepan, then stir in the poppy seeds. When the butter is melted, bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle the topping over the sandwiches in the pan, using a spatula to spread it out evenly, if needed. Leave to cool, then cover the pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.

    When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350° F.
    Bake the sandwiches, covered, for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are heated through. Uncover and cook for a few minutes, just until the tops are lightly toasted—be careful, the topping can brown easily. Use the overhanging foil to lift the sandwiches from the pan, then separate them and arrange on a platter. These are lovely warm or at room temperature.

    Makes 24 sandwiches




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