Coca Cola?!?  In MY house?!? Has the End of Times come and gone?!?

Well… not quite. It was a recipe ingredient. Really. And it was an imported Mexican Coke – made with sugar.

I drink maybe three Cokes a year. All from Mexico from an ice-cold bottle. Even if high fructose corn syrup was a healthy alternative to sugar, I wouldn’t drink American Coca Cola. It’s too damned sweet. The Mexican Coke made with sugar really is a fun and refreshing beverage. Three times a year.

I used to love Coke, Dr. Pepper, Bireley’s Orange soda… Working in restaurants at a young age, I had a pretty much endless supply of it. But as I got older – and they changed the sweetener to HFCS – I lost my taste for it. Today, plain seltzer is my carbonated beverage of choice.

But we had country ham in the ‘fridge compliments of Ann and Julie, and the label gave a recipe for fried ham in cola. I had to go for it. There’s a world of difference between a country ham and a city ham. City hams – the ham you find at the supermarket, bone-in, boneless, spiral cut, etc., are a wet-cured ham, giving the meat a mild, tender and juicy flavor. Country hams, on the other hand, are dry-cured. They’re rubbed with salt and seasonings, then smoked and aged for anywhere from a few months to several years. They’re salty, chewy, and more intensely-flavored.


The simple recipe called for half cola and half water in a skillet, and then to fry the ham in it for a few minutes per side. More braising than frying, but who am I to argue?


It came out pretty damned good. The Coke added sweetness and the water leeched out a bit of the salt. It was chewy and really flavorful. I put pieces on buttered baguette and dipped it into the soup for a fun-flavor-combination.

The Soup…

It was going to be a roasted cauliflower soup, but when I opened the vegetable bin, I found bits and pieces of this-and-that that needed using up. Roasted Vegetable Soup was born.


Broccoli, carrots, onion, cauliflower, garlic, and mushrooms were drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted at 425° for about 30 minutes. Into a pot they went with a cup of white wine, water, a carton of vegetable broth, and herbs d’Provence. When it all cooked down nice and mushy, I hit it with the immersion blender and 2 cups of heavy cream.


It simmered away for a bit and dinner was served!

I vacuum-sealed the remaining ham and placed it in the freezer. I’m thinking that some of it is going to grace the Thanksgiving Table in some way and I definitely see a Bean Soup in our near future…

This is gonna be fun!

Thanks, Ann & Julie!