Well yes, the Yuletide season is here. The frenzy of buying, giving, cooking, cleaning and working ourselves harder on Christmas week than we did for the other 340-odd days of the year is ‘orn like boil corn!’
It’s funny that after promising myself that I would forego the cooking part this year, I once again found myself longing for the creature comforts of a childhood Christmas. Since posting about soaking the fruits for the black cake (and I’m glad to say they have attained maximum plumpness in that alcohol), the quest was on to fulfil other tastes. I didn’t have to go very far this time, since a trip to a certain store to get my new laptop resulted in an unexpected gift of a bottle of wine and a very hefty ham. While happy I wouldn’t have to buy one, the ham was certainly a surprise, because it’s actually the biggest one we’ve ever had come through my kitchen.
After leaving it to thaw for a day, we had to guess its weight, which for some strange reason was left off the wrapper. Enter Errol, who promptly began doing bicep curls with the thing.
He: “I say is about 10 pounds, man. Look how meh pecs pulling!”
Me: *Dr. Evil voice* “Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!” (Then I broke into a giggle fit that lasted for some time.)
Anyway, we soon saw our porcine treasure boasted a low sodium label. Nice! But the skin that covered him was anything but healthy and I imagined what that would look like as the heat melted it… not a pretty sight, right? It’s a good thing Errol was there, because the next step would have proved impossible by myself (especially while trying to wield a camera.) So, Errol grabbed the closest knife and started to perform some surgery on Mr. Ham.
After taking the wrapper and the netting off the ham, I patted it dry with some paper towels so the operation wouldn’t be too slippery. That thick covering of skin was split open by Errol and sliced away.
The now nude ham was scored in a diamond cross hatch pattern. Didn’t go too deep, about a quarter inch was a good depth to work with.
Next, a handful of cloves. I inserted each one into the corners of each diamond, ensuring a delicious stab of spicy flavour.
Here’s the foil covered ham in the roaster, which was placed into a waiting 350°F oven. When baking hams, the general rule is 20 to 25 minutes per pound. At a ‘guestimate’ of ten pounds, this one was baked for nearly three hours.
Here it is after the first 2 ½ hours of baking. As you can see, there are some fat drippings on the bottom of the roaster. (Imagine how it would’ve look if I had left the skin on… the ham would be doing a greasy breast stroke! Hahahahaaaa!)
Out it came for the next step. Using tongs, I removed the foil – you can imagine the scent that hit me! Now the ham was still pretty pale, and definitely needed to get some colour, soooo….
I mixed up some ketchup, Angostura bitters, oyster sauce, ginger powder and honey mustard… I just wanted something different from the sweet glazes. This low sodium ham needed some spice!
Brushed it on carefully. A few cloves popped out, but I stuck them back in. Back to the oven it went – uncovered – so it could get the colour it needed for the remaining time.
TA-DAH!!! My beautiful Christmas Ham!
Of course, we had to take a taste!
There it was. Our lovely ham, perfectly done and making the house smell like Christmas past. Using my home seasoning blend coupled with the cloves gave it a taste and smell that was out of this world. So you can imagine the scene, having to literally stop ourselves from taking taste after taste after taste…
(For the record, this ham on toast with chow-chow and pepper sauce? BESS!!!
So, on that note, thanks again for taking a peep at my cooking adventures. Lots more to come this Holiday season, and I’m looking forward to sharing.
Take care, everyone, and like I always say, don’t forget to mind the pot!