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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Buy the Cheapest Ham You Can Find

I was returning home after a somewhat dispiriting day, when I saw a sign outside of a tiny grocery in Robert, Louisiana: spiral ham 99 cents a pound.

Even though I am under strict orders not to buy any more food (due to over-full freezer and fridge), READER, I BOUGHT ONE. I seldom eat ham: my mother never cooked it and I cook perhaps one a year. Mostly I'm interested in the bone, from which yummy red beans and rice can be made.

Here is my favorite recipe, actually my favorite preface to a recipe. It is from Saveur Cooks American and is a recipe offered by Monte Williams, an ad executive in Manhattan.

Here is the preface. Monte Williams has used this ham as a party staple ever since, as a young arrival in town, he first had it at a glamorous New York party.

Watching the other guests devour the glazed, glistening hunk of pork, Mr. Williams begged his hostess for the recipe.

Buy the cheapest ham possible. glaze the hell out of it and cook it for a long time.

And the Saveur editors caution: So don't waste your money on a fine aged ham; use, as we do, a plain old bone-in prepackaged supermarket ham.

OK. Here is the recipe from the Saveur site. Strangely, Monte Williams has morphed into Monte Matthews. Whatever.

15-lb. smoked ham on the bone
1 1/2 cups orange marmalade
1 cup dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. whole cloves
1. Preheat oven to 300°. Trim tough outer skin and excess fat from ham. Place ham, meat side down, in a large roasting pan and score, making crosshatch incisions with a sharp knife. Roast for 2 hours.
2. Remove ham from oven and increase heat to 350°. For glaze, combine orange marmalade, mustard, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Stud ham with whole cloves (stick one clove at the intersection of each crosshatch), then brush with glaze and return to oven.
3. Cook ham another 1 1/2 hours, brushing with glaze at least 3 times. Transfer to a cutting board or platter and allow to rest for about 30 minutes. Carve and serve warm or at room temperature.


SewingLibrarian said...

Ham bones remind me of my mother's homemade baked beans. Yum! Enjoy your ham.

Shelley said...

We only buy a big gammon (I think it's the same as a ham - it's pig anyhow) at Christmas time. We generally use bacon to flavour beans in the crock pot, if we flavour them at all. We cook up a cup of soaked dried beans in the crock pot and freeze in meal-sized portions (we get about six servings from a cup of dried beans) to be later thawed and used with other ingredients.

I love the taste of ham/bacon, but am conscious of the health risks of red meat. I figure the flavouring comes from the ham fat and so count a ham-flavoured meal as about the same as a ham-containing meal. No idea if this is right or not.

So we don't have ham/gammon/bacon as often as my taste buds would like! Still, I shall pass this recipe on to Bill, the Christmas chef around here.

BTW, do you think you might tag your recipes as a separate category? I've a mind to go back and find some of yours, but they may elude me...

Jane W. said...

I can vouch for this approach, which is what I've done at Christmas time for the last 15 years. Yum.

Duchesse said...

Ohhh, so good. My mother always said, "When you have a ham in your fridge, you feel like you have a million dollars in the bank". She made many dishes from a ham; she'd grind it and make timbales and ham salad, too.

Do you ever just buy ham hocks for your rice?

Frugal Scholar said...

@All--So many ham lovers! I haven't bought one for about 4 years, so I am an amateur of ham.

@Shelley--oops. Which one are you looking for?

@Duchesse--Ground ham sounds so retro! Never had it.

@Sewing--Glad to find another appreciator of bones.

@Jane--Soooo...what do you do with the leftovers. Always searching for ideas.

The Gold Digger said...

I was shocked after a potluck dinner at my husband's Lutheran church that nobody fought me for the hambone that the kitchen ladies offered after dinner was over. I raised my hand and said I would take it - and noticed nobody else showed any interest. Maybe they were just being polite? But who wouldn't want a hambone? I am not crazy about ham, unless you mean serrano ham, but a hambone is precious.

Frugal Scholar said...

@GD--i've also claimed turkey carcasses.