Christmas Recipes by CarolCooks2…in my kitchen today its Christmas ham…

It is a ritual in our house that we brine and make our Christmas ham from scratch…my mother did and my grandmother always cooked ham at Christmas…Over the years I have experimented with different cuts of meat and I have even made ham with crackling which was delicious and worth the extra work…

If you are going to be brining a whole leg of pork then you will need to brine it for 14-20 days plus cooking as well plus ham is always better carved the day after cooking…

My two ham recipes are using Salt Petre I made the conscious decision that for the amount used and the dilution per litre of liquid that as the body can cope and disperse with the nitrate I would use that rather than getting botulism which the body generally doesn’t cope with.

Also for the number of times, I make ham we are not eating it day in day out week after week the risk is minimal and considering the number of chemicals which are in foods by cooking my own food from scratch I have control. That is my decision. It is also extremely likely if you buy your ham ready to cook that nitrates have been used in the curing process I believe I use far less than any ham I buy ready to cook.

Christmas Ham Recipe.

A piece of Pork…top of leg……mine was 3 kilo.

Suitable plastic( not metal) container to brine the meat in.

Ingredients for the Rub:

  • 4 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre) See note at the end of the post
  • Ingredients for Brine:
  • 5 litres water
  • 900 gm salt (coarse)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Day one:

Mix the dry rub, and rub the ham, making sure it’s well covered. If using a 7-8 kilo ham you will need a double batch….make sure you wear gloves…

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and heat up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave the liquid to cool and save in a cold place. I put it in the fridge.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is completely covered.

Store the ham somewhere cold. If you have a larder or cold store that is great I keep mine in the fridge.

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.

Note…IF the brine goes cloudy, make new brine and replace the old brine with that and keep curing it.

Warning: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing. Clever clogs here didn’t the first time and I had a skin reaction all my own fault…

When the ham is cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover it with water, bring it to a boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow it to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.

                                                         Ham with scored skin studded with cloves

Another option is once it has finished cooking is to score the fat and stud with cloves, brush with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

My third way of making ham which I did last Christmas was to use a loin of pork instead of the leg. It is also much quicker to brine than a whole leg and only takes between 4-6 days depending on the size of your meat and how salty you like your ham.

I used 2 kilos of Pork Loin.

Ingredients for Rub:

  • 2 tbsp salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp  Sugar.
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter(saltpetre)

Ingredients for Brine:

  • 2 1/2  litres water
  • 450 gm salt (coarse)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tbsp Saltpeter.

Mix the ingredients for the rub together and rub over the pork loin.

Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.

Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.

Day two:

Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.

Store the ham cold.

Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.

Let the ham brine for 4-6 days.

Tip: The first time I used loin I left it for 4 days the second time I left it for 5 days which suited our taste… It is always wise to do a test run I think as personal tastes vary.

If I am making crackling ham I buy pork with the skin on and score the fat….when I get to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked I covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat put it in a high oven to crisp the crackling…It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…Awesome!

                                                             Home-cooked ham and crackling

Most of the time I buy my pork loin without the fat…When curing ham or bacon the meat must be fresh and not frozen.

But whether you use loin or leg you can certainly taste the difference…

It can be eaten as second meat with your roast or you can make a lovely sandwich it makes a change from turkey…or cold with bubble and squeak, a jacket potato and some salad…There is nothing like home brined ham…Delicious…

If you have any questions I am happy to help…Thank you for reading I look forward to your comments… Have a great week! xx

 

 

29 thoughts on “Christmas Recipes by CarolCooks2…in my kitchen today its Christmas ham…

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…The Definition of Processed Foods… | Retired? No one told me!

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        I’m sure it will be delicious whatever recipe you choose., Robbie…I am probably going to do the one with crackling again…x

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  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…November 28th-4th December 2021…Culinary A-Z, Recipes | Retired? No one told me!

  3. petespringerauthor

    I am a traditionalist, and I find it endearing that you carry this tradition forward, Carol. I agree with your comment that ham tastes better the day after it’s cooked. It’s a curious thing as I don’t think that of most foods.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I think its important that we don’t forget our roots and traditions like you, Pete…I also agree that I’m not sure why it tastes better obviously it carves better when cold but I also think the salt mellows sometimes when I sneak a piece whilst it is still warm is can taste saltier than it does the next day…Have a great week, Pete 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Christmas Recipes by CarolCooks2…in my kitchen today its Christmas ham… – MobsterTiger

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Thank you, Sowmya I cook nearly everything from scratch although I do have help as my son lives with us and he helps me cook we share the cooking which makes it easier for me as I cook what I want like ham and he does the everyday cookery which leaves me time to experiment…Tomorrow I am making your wheat flour Appam 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I’ve always cooked my ham as did my mother and grandmother.. But yes there is element of control and taste it is far nicer.. I only do a big ham at christmas I use loin theoughout the year quicker to brine and cook x

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Norah

        Yum. That sounds good, Carol.
        When I was growing up, Mum cooked a chicken or a duck (often one the family had raised). Since I’ve been married (which is more than 2/3 of my life 😅) we generally have turkey and roast vege, especially lots of potatoes which are popular with all the family. We also have a vegetarian dish now as some members of the family prefer to not eat meat.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. CarolCooks2 Post author

        My grandmother used to cook goose… I also have to do lots of roast potatoes.. Luckily none of mine are vegetarian all meat eaters.. I love duck just don’t have it at Christmas although this year we are having lamb as its not something we have often here and the turkeys have no breast meat here.. Probably because they are not fed hormones and are best stewed low and slow.. x

        Like

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