Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stand by your ham

This is me and my ham in February just after preparation. Below is the ham today, being sliced and it is DELICIOUS.
Here's how to make a cured ham:
Buy the hams when they are on promo at the supermarkets. Here that's in January and February when they knock them out at two Euros per kg.
Then go across the road to the cafe and get two of the old boys to come show you how to do it. In my case the old boys took the form of Marcel and Milou. Marcel used to be a butcher. He cut out the hip bone from the ham. but left the bone that has the ball joint on the end.
Then bend the ham in half to crack the knee joint that is in the middle, and use your thumbs to massage the blood down and out of the meat.
Make a thick paste from: Eau de vie (or cognac); ground pepper, ground coriander, Rabelais, and smear and massage this paste all over the meat and in and around the ball joint. The Rabeleais is very dark and pungent and will soak into the ham giving the edges a darker tint.

Lay a thick bed of coarse salt in a tub, put the ham on top and then completly cover the ham in salt. Bury it in coarse salt. Leave it in the salt for 2 days for every kilo of weight. The salt will draw moisture out of the ham and stop it rotting.
Take it out of the salt and hang it for a month or two in a cool, well ventilated place. The longer you hang it the drier it gets.
What you end up with is very like parma ham.

Try and get the salt off and slice it thinly.


At 2:51 am, Blogger MichaelBains said...

Not even cooked? How long does it last? Say 2 people.

At 11:27 am, Blogger Stew said...

No, its not cooked, but neither is Parma Ham or many of the European "deli" hams. The salt, spices and drying out kills any bacteria and keeps the flies away. The hams are often left to cure in cotton bags which let the air thru' but keeps the bugs off.
Last? Good Lord, 20lbs of ham for 2 people will go a long way. Months probably if its kept in a cool ventilated place. It realy comes into its own at parties and picnics.

At 7:09 pm, Blogger Potabasil said...



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