Herb Braised Ham (An Easter Dinner for those on South Beach)
April 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
So this was my experiment for a nice holiday meal while on South Beach. It was quite a success! I’d up the herbs a bit (increased amounts are reflected in below recipe) and maybe throw in some rosemary? but it’s a good technique for this kind of ham. And by this kind I mean a picnic ham (smoked pork shoulder), a cut that I’m not that familiar with.
Adapted recipe from Gourmet ‘03
- 1 (9- to 12-pound) bone-in smoked pork shoulder (sometimes called picnic ham)
- 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 10 (5-inch) fresh thyme sprigs plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped leaves
- 10 fresh flat-leaf parsley stems plus 1/4 cup finely chopped leaves
- 1/2-1 whole nutmeg, smashed with side of a large heavy knife
- 1 heaping teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2-3 cups water
*Those not on a low carb diet could also add a couple of carrots to the mix.
**I’d also recommend using 2 cups of white wine instead of the chicken broth, and then use 4-5 cups of water.
Special equipment: a deep 10- to 20-quart pot (such as a stockpot, lobster pot, or canning pot); a wide 7-10 quart heavy ovenproof pot; an instant-read thermometer (preferably remote digital with probe)
Put ham in deep 10- to 20-quart pot and cover with cold water (don’t worry if bone sticks out). Bring to a boil, then drain ham. (THIS IS CRUCIAL. Otherwise everything will be way too salty!)
Put oven rack in lower third of oven (remove any other racks) and preheat oven to 350°F.
Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, then lift out and drain well. Cook leeks, onion, (carrots), celery, garlic, thyme sprigs, parsley stems, nutmeg, peppercorns, and cloves in 2 tablespoons butter in wide 7- to 10-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
Add chicken broth or wine and bring to a boil, then add ham, skin side down, and water (liquid will not cover ham) and return to a boil.
Cover pot tightly with lid or, if ham sticks up over top of pot, with heavy-duty foil. Braise ham in oven 1 hour.
Turn ham skin side up and continue to braise in oven, covered, until thermometer inserted into center of ham (do not touch bone) registers 120°F, about 1 hour more (if ham was labeled “fully cooked”), or 160°F, about 2 hours more (if ham was labeled “partially cooked”). (I cooked mine for a total of 3.5 hours and it was marvelous. It was only about 9 lbs.)
Transfer ham to a platter and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 45 minutes.
***While ham stands, pour braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a 3-quart saucepan, pressing on and discarding solids, and skim off any fat. Bring braising liquid to a simmer and whisk in flour/butter mixture to thicken sauce/gravy. Continue to simmer, whisking, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chopped thyme and parsley.
Remove skin from ham, then slice meat and serve with sauce.
***So again, on South Beach, butter isn’t highly recommended and flour is a no go. We only strained out the peppercorns and chunks of nutmeg nut. Then we pureed the remaining vegetables along with some steamed cauliflower and added that as a no-carb thickener. Worked really well.
If you’re us, serve with roasted brussels sprouts and SB mashed potatoes.