ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Redeye Ham with Coca-Cola Redeye Gravy” from Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree*
TIMING: 15 minutes, at most
DIFFICULTY: Basically easy, just don’t wander
TOOLS: A skillet of some sort, maybe some cast iron
COOK TYPE: Stovetop. frying and simmering
HEALTH: It’s ham and it’s coke. Even if you buy a nitrate-free, conscientious ham and some natural, caffeine-free coke–like I did–it’s not going to count as health food. But paired with a table of healthy grains (corn bread, wheat toast) and lots of veggies (sliced tomatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, steamed greens), you’re going to be just fine. We like to serve it as a breakfast item, ideally with eggs and toast or eggs and biscuits and some sort of breakfasty veggie.
EXPERIENCE: I think I originally tried this recipe because I have always been curious about redeye gravy, and being a Southern import, had never tried it. I was surprised when my southern cooking book, however, contained only a recipe for a coke variation on redeye gravy, and not the original coffee version (although I think we can safely extrapolate).
Then again, my husband is a Coca-Cola fanatic so I thought at least he would enjoy it.
We all loved it. And it couldn’t be a simpler way to make a quick dinner seem special.
- Take a 1 pound ham, and slice into medium slices.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. (Melt a couple tablespoons butter into the pan if your ham is too lean.) Cover the bottom of the pan with your ham slices and cook on one side until browning. Turn over and brown again. Remove to a platter and continue with slices until all are cooked.
- Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the hot skillet. Bring to a simmer and keep simmering until coke is slightly reduced, maybe even a bit syrupy.
- Drizzle the “gravy” over the ham and serve.
Serve with breakfast items, like fried eggs, sliced tomatoes, sweet potato hash, and biscuits.
*Recipe changed from the original.