Honey Glazed Gammon (cured ham)

Since the cured ham is quite salty, we start this recipe by boiling the ham with some veggies and spices. This removes a lot of the salt and imparts some new flavors.

The ham is finished by baking it with a honey glaze.

Boiling the Ham

  • 5-6 pound cured ham (not smoked, just cured)
  • 1 carrot, chopped roughly
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 leek (the white part), trimmed and chopped roughly
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 bay leaves

The night before, or at least 3-4 hours before cooking, put the ham in a large pot and cover with cold water. Let sit until ready to cook. Then pour off the water and refill the pot with fresh cold water.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes per pound. For a 5 pound ham, this is 2 hours and 5 minutes. For a 6 pound ham, this is 2 hours and 30 minutes. Watch the pot and be sure the ham is covered with water throughout the cooking time. Top up the pot with boiling water as needed. If you see any foam at the top, scoop it out and discard.

At the end of the cooking time, remove the ham from the pot and put it in an oven-proof dish, such as a roasting pan, fat side up.  You will not be covering it, so an open pan is fine.

Some people say they keep the broth for soup. It is extremely salty though, so I just throw it all away.

Honey Glazing the Ham

  • Handful of whole cloves (about 25) to stud the ham
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Madeira wine
  • 3/4 cup honey (250g if you prefer to weigh it)

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Score the fat side of the ham in diamond shapes and put a clove in the center of each diamond.

Put the sugar, vinegar, and Madeira in a small pan and bring to a boil (watching carefully so it does not boil over). Add the honey, bring to a boil again, and remove from heat.

Pour 1/2 the glaze over the fat of the ham, put in the hot oven, and roast for 15 minutes. Pour the rest of the glaze over the ham, and return it to the oven for about 35 minutes. Baste the glaze over the ham about every 9 minutes. Turn the pan around 1/2 way through so it browns evenly.

Keep an eye on the ham; it should turn a lovely reddish brown color. Any darker is over done, so you should remove the ham from the oven before it gets dark. (My picture above shows a somewhat overcooked glaze.) Note that boiling has already cooked the ham, so you are just using the oven to glaze the ham. When the glaze is ready, it is done.

Remove the ham from the oven, put on a serving plate, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

In the roasting pan, whisk together the honey glaze and pan drippings. Pour it into a bowl and serve on the side. (The honey glaze should be a thick liquid. I have had it turn into almost a candy consistency. In that case, it does not make a good side! Just put the pan in the sink, put really hot water in it, and let it sit during dinner so you can clean it later.)

Cooked ham can be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days. If you do not use it all by then, you can freeze the leftovers for another day.

Wiltshire Cure for Ham

When BH and I lived in the UK, we had gammon. This is a cured (but not smoked) ham. Actually, it can be smoked as well, but most of the time you will find it not smoked.

Along with this lovely ham, I found a recipe for honey glaze. Oh so yummy!!!

I tried the honey glaze in the US, where hams are almost always smoked. It did not really work that well. I actually found a butcher in the Eastern US making gammon with Wiltshire cure. But it was hugely expensive, and the shipping cost nearly doubled the price. Almost $100 was too much for honey glazed ham!!

So I determined to make my own cured ham. Is this recipe the “real” Wiltshire cure? No one knows, because the Wiltshire family keeps it a secret. What I do know is that this ham was just as good as the gammon I had in the UK.

In this post, I describe how I cured the ham. In another post (Honey Glazed Gammon (cured ham)) you will find the recipe for honey glazing it. I hope you have as much success as I did!

The finished product, honey glaze and all.

The Meat

Fresh (not cured, not smoked, the raw meat) boneless ham – 5-6 pounds from the leg or shoulder (shoulder is called a picnic cut). Traditionally ham is always from the leg, but many people like the picnic cut just as well.

I used boneless because I don’t like carving around the bone. It turns out for curing that it is easier to do boneless as well. If you have bone-in, you need to inject the cure around the bone before putting the ham in the brine. You do not need this step for boneless.

Have I convinced you that boneless is better?!!

If there is skin on your ham, remove it. It impedes the cure and you don’t need it. If you want to, make cracklin’s out of it.

The Brine

In a large (non-reactive) pot stir together:

  • 1 pound Kosher salt
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar
  • 1 generous measuring teaspoon curing salt (Prague Powder #1) – it is also called pink salt but is completely different from Himalayan pink salt. You want curing salt. A flat teaspoon of curing salt is fine for 5 pound ham, but for ham up to 6 pounds, you will want about 1/4 teaspoon more.
  • 1 Tablespoon lightly crushed juniper berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme or a big pinch of dried thyme
  • 1/2 gallon hot water

Bring the mixture to a boil, and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and add enough cold water to make 1 gallon of brine. Cool to room temperature.

Put your ham into a 2 gallon food grade bucket (or something equivalently sized). You can get these buckets at a store selling equipment for home brewing.

Pour the cool brine over the ham. It should be completely covered in brine.

Add a weight to keep the ham submerged. I used a ceramic bowl, but another easy way is to take a gallon sized plastic zipper bag, fill about 1/2 with water, seal well, and put on top of the ham. You don’t want this bag of water to leak or it will dilute the brine!

I put the cover back on the bucket (as you see in the top photo) to keep out any curious critters. Put the bucket in a cool place for 7-9 days, or up to 2 weeks if you want.

1/2 way through the cure, turn the ham over so the part under your weight gets good contact with the brine as well.

What should the temperature be? I have seen posts saying up to 60F, but I kept mine at about 40F (out in my garage in early January).

How long to cure? The brine will be absorbed at about 1/4 inch per day. Since this is a boneless ham, it is absorbing brine on the outside surface but also in the cavity where the bone was. If the thickness of the meat (from outside to the cavity) is 3 inches, and the brine is absorbing from both sides, then the brine needs to move 1.5 inches to cure all the ham. That would be 6 days. So assuming your ham is about as thick as mine, then curing for 7-9 days should be enough.

When the cure is complete, remove the ham, pat dry, cover and refrigerate for no more than 5 days (fresh pork is supposed to keep for 3-5 days in the fridge) before cooking.

Here it is cured, but not cooked. It will be a bit brown due to the dark brown sugar and crushed juniper berries.

Sweet and Tangy Chicken Strips

I was at the farmer’s market today. Found some lovely sweet corn and local honey. My bees are not producing enough honey to harvest yet, so I picked up a jar of honey.

BH was in the mood for some chicken strips, and I was tired of my usual recipes. So I browsed online for some inspiration and then made up something that seemed it would be sweet and tangy.

Olive oil, a bit of lime juice, some seasoning, and honey are all you need. Cook until the honey starts to caramelize. Yum!

The only thing I did not really measure was the honey. I just grabbed a teaspoon from the cutlery drawer, dipped it in the golden honey loveliness, and mixed it into the rest of the ingredients.

The lime added a hint of tartness and freshness to the taste. It was a nice change from using lemon or orange, which is what you usually find with chicken. A nice surprise for the taste buds.

I’ll have to post a photo another time. BH was already hungry and nibbling the chicken as it came out of the skillet, so I did not want to delay dinner by getting a camera out!

And the sweet corn? It went really well with the chicken 🙂

Sweet and Tangy Chicken Strips

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh

A lovely, quick way to prepare boneless, skinless chicken thighs. A bit of honey for sweetness and lime juice for tartness. Cooking the chicken until the honey starts to caramelize intensifies the flavors.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon additional olive oil.

Instructions

  • Put the chicken strips into a quart size storage bag in a single layer. The strips should fill most of the bag.
  • Whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Pour over the chicken and close the bag. Squish the chicken around until all the pieces are covered. Open the bag, squeeze out most the air, and seal the bag again. Press the chicken down to one layer. Let sit about 15-20 minutes, turning the bag over a couple of times.
  • Heat the 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet until hot. A drop of water added to the pan should pop (stand back when you do this so you don't get hit with hot oil).
  • Add the chicken strips in a single layer (you may need multiple batches to cook them all). Cook for 8 minutes, turning every 2 minutes to keep from burning. Ideally, the honey should start to carmelize (turn dark brown), but not burn.
  • Enjoy!
  • Note: These would also work well cooked on a clean grill.
  • Notes

    Prep time includes marinating time. It really only takes about 5 minutes to cut the chicken into strips (especially if you use kitchen shears) and mix up the marinade.

    http://www.alifeinharmony.me/?p=62


    Cauliflower Cheese

    It has been cold and rainy here, and I really wanted some comforting Winter type food last night. Cauliflower cheese is a healthy comfort food for me and BH enjoys it as well.

    I remember having just this dish for dinner one night at a restaurant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, when it was about 40 below zero outside (but toasty warm inside). I do not remember what else I ate that week, but I do remember the Cauliflower Cheese!

    Cauliflower is a plant that likes cooler weather. It is a vegetable you may find available from local farms even into the late fall or very early winter, as well as in the late spring and early summer.

    Sweet and Tangy Chicken Strips

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Total Time: 35 minutes

    Yield: 4

    Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh

    A lovely, quick way to prepare boneless, skinless chicken thighs. A bit of honey for sweetness and lime juice for tartness. Cooking the chicken until the honey starts to caramelize intensifies the flavors.

    Ingredients

    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into strips
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 Tablespoon additional olive oil.

    Instructions

  • Put the chicken strips into a quart size storage bag in a single layer. The strips should fill most of the bag.
  • Whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Pour over the chicken and close the bag. Squish the chicken around until all the pieces are covered. Open the bag, squeeze out most the air, and seal the bag again. Press the chicken down to one layer. Let sit about 15-20 minutes, turning the bag over a couple of times.
  • Heat the 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet until hot. A drop of water added to the pan should pop (stand back when you do this so you don't get hit with hot oil).
  • Add the chicken strips in a single layer (you may need multiple batches to cook them all). Cook for 8 minutes, turning every 2 minutes to keep from burning. Ideally, the honey should start to carmelize (turn dark brown), but not burn.
  • Enjoy!
  • Note: These would also work well cooked on a clean grill.
  • Notes

    Prep time includes marinating time. It really only takes about 5 minutes to cut the chicken into strips (especially if you use kitchen shears) and mix up the marinade.

    http://www.alifeinharmony.me/?p=14