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)

The Prep

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.

The herbs are cookin'!

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.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

***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.

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§ One Response to Herb Braised Ham (An Easter Dinner for those on South Beach)

  • chickpea says:

    What is this fancy moving picture box at the end of the post?! Also, looks DELICIOUS. I think it’s time I hit the SB again. 😦 But this makes me want to!

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