I have eaten hams before at Xmas, but they have always been prepared by Mum or Nan. But for the rest of the year, my life passes me by with little ham in it.
I have never baked a ham myself, and I certainly don’t understand what all of the fuss about having a ham is really (other than that your family shows you they love you by filling you with so much food at Christmas that you won’t be able to walk).
But after watching River Cottage – Pig in a Day – Hugh and his butcher friend Ray show you how to make ham, I just had to do it….even though I don’t really like it. Crazy really. Uncle Bob also had to make a ham…so we were in it together!
I only purchased 2kgs of Otway free-range pork – just in case this ham was a total disaster. To be honest – I wasn’t feeling confident about my ham making abilities.
I have the recipe attached below if you are interested. I have to say, the process is involved, and took a while to figure out. But most of the time you are just watching the ham soak in brine. It isn’t technically difficult.
And was it worth it – totally! I have never tasted anything so delicious. The meat was grey/brown/white unlike preservative ham. The meat was tender, juicy, and had subtle flavours of cloves, pepper and bay. The glaze was delicious.
The next day, a friend from work gave me a DVD called Foodinc about the food industry in the USA. I think we always have the image the America’s food is worse than Australia, but how far removed are we from it really?
Two days later there was an article in The Age – Hamming it up. A simple coincidence or are all of my planets in alignment? They discussed how most ham on the market is imported from the US, has been grown under horrible conditions, fed on corn, slaughtered under duress, packed with preservatives, snapped frozen and slow thawed. Doesn’t sound appetising, and by the sound of some of the reviews, isn’t worth eating.
So I was immediately on the phone to Uncle Bob…who’s ham also worked with delectable results. So from now on…I am making my own. I am convinced it is the way to go!
And today on the way through market I was chatting to my butcher about my ham. He want’s the recipe. Have we come full circle now?