Ramps! The King of Stink

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  This is a recipe that my mom used to make 30+ years ago however, she used to use spanish onions -vs- ramps. I modified it a couple of years ago. Potatoes and Butter...yikes!!! Oh well. All I can say is that when this dish starts to cook, the entire cabin begins to fill up with the wonderful smell of simmering ramps and meat and potatoes always seem to go over well with everyone up in the North Woods. I have never seen a similar recipe online therefore, I decided to share this one. Hey, if you don't have the ramps handy, try it with onions before hand to see if you even like it. --Ghost

Easy Corned Beef And Ramps

1 can Hormel (or substitute) fully cooked Corned Beef
1 stick of butter (or margerine)
4 medium/large potatoes (cubed)
10 fresh ramps (diced)

Place entire stick of butter into a large Non-Stick skillet.
Rinse potatoes and cube them into 1/2 inch square pieces (or larger) leaving the skin on.
Wash ramps and dice into 1/4 inch pieces (bulbs and stems) discarding only the root*.
Combine potatoes and ramps into the skillet.
Cook uncovered on medium/high heat stirring often until the butter is melted.
Mix the ingredients until all are coated with the melted butter, reduce heat to medium and cover with a lid.
Slow cook for approximately 20 minutes stirring often.
The goal is to tenderize the potatoes while browning a crisp coating on the outside.
The trick is to NOT over cook the potatoes into mush.
During the process, the ramps will cook faster than the potatoes.
The resulting texture enhances the dish (matter of preference) and many people prefer the ramps slightly blackened (burned).
When the potatoes are nearing the tender point, remove the lid and continue to stir allowing any remaining liquid (steam/butter) to evaporate.
Reduce the heat to low.
Open the can of Corned Beef (I prefer Hormel as it is very lean).
The Corned Beef will exit the can in one piece.
Scrape any accumulated grease (from settling) off of the Beef and discard.
Using a spatula, create a clearing in the center of the skillet by shifting the potatoes and ramps to the outer edges.
Place the Corned Beef into the skillet, crushing it up completely with your spatula.
Cook and stir Corned Beef for about one minute before mixing it up into the other ingredients.
Freely sprinkle black pepper over the entire contents, return the lid and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Serve steaming hot annd salt to taste.
Compliment with ketchup and/or Tobasco sauce.

Note: The beauty of this dish is the simple/easy ingredients. If unexpected guests show up, simply add more potatoes. Adjust ramps to taste. This dish goes over very well for breakfast however, may be served up any time. Awesome around a camp fire too. I prefer the ramps somewhat over cooked. This recipe is really fun as it allows great freedom for self variation (such as adding the ramps in the last ten minutes). Enjoy!

Simple Crab/Ramp Dip

2 packages Louis Kemp (or other) Imitation Crab
1 package (or small tub) Philly Cream Cheese
1 cup Helmans Mayonaise
2 Tablespoons Worstershire Sauce
1 small bunch of ramps
1 box Keebler Club Crackers

Dice Imitation Crab into small pieces.
Wash, clean ramps and remove only roots.
Dice fresh ramps using white stem and include at least 2 inches of the green lower leaf.
If you have baby ramps, include the entire leaf.
Soften Cream Cheese in a good size bowl at room temperature and then combine with the Mayo and Worstershire sauce by hand whipping with a dinner fork.
Add diced Crab and Ramps and blend with fork until evenly mixed. I told you that was simple!

Hints: The diced Ramp leaf provides a nice color to the mix. Larger late season ramp leafs may be bitter so use only the lower 2 inches. Increase/reduce quantity of Ramps/Worstershire sauce to taste.

DO NOT SCRIMP ON THE QUALITY OF THE CRACKER! The cracker is the delivery system to the palate so choose your favorite cracker for this dish and stick to it. I prefer the Keebler Club because of its buttery taste and it holds up well to this stiff dip. Enjoy! Ghost.

Easy Mixed Bean/Ramp Soup

1 jar Randall Deluxe Mixed Beans (48 oz)
1/2 lb. sliced bacon
1 large can Chicken Broth
2 large (peeled) Idaho Potatoes
1 large bunch of ramps
salt/pepper to taste

In a large pot (with a lid), combine undrained Mixed Beans and Chicken Broth.
Cover and simmer on low heat.
Slice raw bacon into 1 inch squares and add to pot.
Dice potatoes into medium sized cubes and add to pot.
Wash, clean ramps and remove only roots.
Dice fresh ramps into 1 inch pieces using white stem and lower half portion of green leaf (non bitter).
For young Ramps, use entire stem and leaf minus the root.
Slow cook on low heat until potatoes are tender (but with a nice firm texture).
Approximate time is one hour. I told you that was easy!

Hints: If you are not sure about Randall Mixed Beans you can find them on the internet. You may substitute chicken boullion for broth. You can go old school and boil a chicken for the broth and make your own Mixed Beans from scratch. I prefer to use Thick Sliced Peppered Bacon. For me, that provides the right amount of salt and pepper for the dish. Avoid adding water and insist upon using broth if you must thin out the soup while cooking. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If you have company, simply double the recipe! Enjoy! Ghost.

* Note: It has been suggested that the Native American Indians used to leave/return the root caps from the harvested ramps to insure future crops. I support this wisdom and encourage others to do the same.


© 1997 & 2009 Anita Toth Simpson
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