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Funky Festive Ham in Feast

Asked by dhpardoe. Answered on 22nd October 2010

Full question

I am a fan of Nigella's although she could be my daughter---wish she were! The recipe for Fully Festive Ham in Feast says to put in a pot of water and bring to a boil and drain. What kind of ham is this recipe for? I would do that with a U.S. "country ham" but not a "processed ham." The photo, page 17 looks like a boned and rolled pork roast. Or is it a fresh ham? If so, why the boiling water? I am confused but want to use the glaze. Thanks for your time. Dave Pardoe

Our answer

Hams cooked by simmering in liquid, as in the Feast recipe, will be cured but uncooked hams. In the UK these are generally known as uncooked hams but in the US there can be some confusion on terms as a a fresh ham is a joint of pork cut from the leg. English-style cured, uncooked hams can be a little difficult to find in the US, particularly outside of the holiday season, but an uncooked country ham is the most similar product.

Country hams and Smithfield hams do however tend to be on the salty side so a good soak in fresh, cold water, with regular changes of water, are recommended - we would suggest soaking for a minimum of 24 hours (and remember to leave it in a cold place or the refrigerator while soaking). You can then cook the ham following the recipe in Feast (please note the FDA recommends that hams are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160F). Most whole hams sold in the US are fully cooked and just need reheating so you can always follow the producer's instructions for reheating the ham then turn your oven up to 425F, cover it in the glaze from the Feast recipe and give the ham a final 15 minutes in the hot oven to set and burnish the glaze.

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