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An un-Nero Wolfe Christmas, Part 2 December 30, 2009

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Pork, Vegetables.
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(Part 1 can be found here and Part 3, here)

For the main part of the Christmas feast, I had decided to cook a ham – I’d never cooked a ham before. I had pre-ordered a brined 4.5kg boneless ham from my awesome local butcher, and picked it up a couple days before Christmas. My butcher had apologised when I picked it up as it was bigger than I’d ordered but I assured him it wasn’t a problem – in true Wolfe style I obviously wasn’t going to worry about more food!

This is a photo of the ham as it appeared from the butchers:

They had done a great job on the brining. First, I washed the ham and put it in the oven to cook for a couple hours at about 180 degrees, or until the meat thermometer said it had an internal temperature of about 70 degrees celsius.

There was a bit of an issue with the ham really being too big for our oven, and the oven not being able to heat up as a result. After we fiddled with the oven settings for a while, it finally started heating properly and the ham began to cook. After 2 hours almost exactly, I tested the internal temperature and it had reached the magical 70 degrees.

I took the ham out of the oven and let it cool slightly so I could remove the rind. While it was cooling I made the glaze, using a Martha Stewart recipe. I was interested in this glaze recipe as it sounded more complex (flavour wise) than many of the usual honey-type glazes, and the result proved well worth it.

The rind came off really easily and I also sliced off some of the fat layer underneath, and scored the meat. The glaze was fairly goopy and I covered the ham as best I could. Here’s a photo of the ham with the glaze on:

I put the ham back in the oven uncovered, to let the glaze cook and crisp up. While it was cooking, I added my chopped up veggies (carrot and parsnip) to the oven so they could cook too. I cooked the vegetables in the fat and rind I’d cut off the ham, and the remaining bits of glaze:

After about 40 minutes, the veggies were done and the glaze had gone crispy (and a bit burnt) on top:

While the largest temptation at this point was to bite into the ham as it sat, my reading over at The Food Lab had convinced me to let the ham rest for 20-30 minutes (yes, I know the recipe calls for resting the meat but this is often a stage I skip due to my impatience).  After an agonising (but delicious smelling) 20 minutes, we cut the ham open:

An action shot of the ham being sliced

The final result for the main course: Oh my goodness that ham. It was one of the best hams I’d ever tasted! The glaze was delicious – spicy and sweet and sticky all at the same time. The mustard, fennel and cardamom seeds added spice and bitterness, which was balanced by the sugar and molasses. I was surprised how well the glaze had flavoured the ham, too. While it had only cooked for 40 minutes with the glaze, the flavour had penetrated the ham making each bite a delicious, succulent, piggy mouthful. The vegetables also, having been cooked in the fat and rind of the ham, were also beautifully flavoured.

And what would we need after a mouthwatering appetizer, and rediculously, awesomely delicious ham and veggies? Dessert, of course! On to part 3!

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1. An un-Nero Wolfe Christmas, part 1 « Inspired by Wolfe - December 31, 2009

[…] Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Cheese, Drinks. Tags: All day feasts trackback (Part 2 can be found here, and Part 3 […]


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