Let’s Talk Food: Start thinking about ham


We had our corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day last week, and now we need to think about getting our ham for Easter on Sunday, April 20!

There are many decisions that need to be made when selecting a ham.

A whole ham is more than 20 pounds, and if you figure 1/2 pound per person, a whole ham should feed 40 people. We usually have a bunch of family and friends, so that would be what we will need to purchase.

The whole ham is made up of the butt and shank end, and if you buy just a half ham, look for the butt end, which is the portion of the back leg that is farthest from the leg. The shank end is that part of the pig’s leg that is more chewy.

I do not recommend spiral ham, although it is sometimes less expensive and easy to serve as it is already cut. It is difficult to bake and still have it juicy as it will have a tendency to dry out.

The whole ham will have the leg bone, and although it may be just a little inconvenient to carve, is great to make soup later. I love to make a bean soup with the ham bone as stock!

The type of ham we get at the market is called “city” ham, which has been wet-cured and hot-smoked. I like my ham on the sweeter side, not too salty, so I find a large enough container to place the whole ham into apple cider for a day in the refrigerator. This reverse brining removes a lot of the salt and sweetens the ham. The trick is finding a large enough container and space in the refrigerator, or cleaning out with bleach a cooler and filling it with apple cider and ham. But I just received my April/May issue of Fine Cooking and it suggests braising the ham in apple cider to make “the ham incredibly juicy and succulent.”

Cider-Braised Ham

Fine Cooking April/May 2014

Serves 8-12

1 8- to 10-pound bone-in butt end half city ham

Position oven rack to lower third of oven and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place ham, cut side down in a large roasting pan, add:

6 cups apple cider

1 tablespoon allspice berries

1 tablespoon whole cloves

One 4-inch cinnamon stick

Cover with a small piece of parchment paper on top of the ham and then tent with heavy-duty aluminum foil, pinching it over the lip of the roasting pan for a good seal. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat without touching the bone registers 130 degrees F, about 2 hours.

In meantime, make your favorite ham glaze. If you made tangerine marmalade or jam with the abundance of tangerines on your tree, it is a good time to use it, add spices such as ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a pinch of ground cloves.

Remove the pan from the oven, turn the oven to 375 degrees F. Transfer the ham to the cutting board, remove the liquid from the pan and discard. Set the ham cut side down in the pan. Using a brush, slather the glaze over the exposed parts of the ham.

Cook, basting twice with the glaze until caramelized at the edges and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat without touching the bone registers 140 degrees F, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer ham to carving board and let rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Transfer any glaze from the bottom of the pan to a gravy boar or bowl and serve with the ham.

FOODIE BITES

The Hawaii Community College is on spring break this week so the Cafeteria and Bamboo Hale are closed.

The Hilo Classic Food Show is being held at the Cafeteria on Friday, April 4. Please purchase tickets and support the students in the culinary program.

The 10th annual Rotary Club of South Hilo’s Hilo Huli is Sunday, May 4. Tickets are available from any member of the club. Aiona Car Sales will be glad to sell you some tickets, as would Garth Yamanaka of Yamanaka Realty, Kevin Cornwell of Hilo Ocean Adventures, across from Ken’s House of Pancakes, Rick Fuller of Pacific Air Supply, or the Rev. Moki Hino of Holy Apostles, Tracy Kim of American Mutual Group, Keith Marrack of Edward Jones, or at The Most Irresistible Shop in Downtown Hilo.

There will be more than 20 food and drink vendors and so far, AJ &Sons Catering, Seaside Restaurant, Hamakua Mushrooms, Higa’s Gourmet Specialties, Hawaii Island Gourmet Products, Mehana Brewery, Southern Wine and Spirits, and Pepsi Beverages Company have committed to a day of food, drinks and fun!

Starting this week, the new owners of LaRays Taco Plus food truck will be in Kalapana, next to Uncle Robert’s, in the former Kalapana Café location. According to owner Keoni Alfiche, they will be open daily from 11a.m.-6 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

Please feel free to email me at wilson.audrey@hawaiiantel.net if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.

 

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