Ham – Why We Love Swedish Ham
What to have on your holiday table? We’re voting for Swedish Ham.
With Easter just around the corner, thoughts around our house (much like every day!) are heavily concentrated on what to put on the menu for our festive feast. Some go for turkey or lamb, but our holiday table is never complete without an Easter Ham. Many years ago that meant picking one up from the local supermarket, and there’s plenty of great hams out there, but we discovered Swedish Ham a few years ago and haven’t looked back.
A ham is defined as the hind leg of a pig and there are generally three types of ham. Our favourite for the holiday table is fresh ham, and a version includes our Swedish Ham. There’s also dry-cured hams and wet-cured hams, the latter being more popular in the markets today. Fresh ham is a ham that is uncured and uncooked, while a dry-cured ham is cured by rubbing the meat with a spice and salt rub and then hanging to air-dry, concentrating its flavours. Examples of dry cured hams include Virginia ham and Prosciutto and we often start the meal with some cured ham and condiments for an extra meaty feast. The most popular ham is the wet-cured, usually skinned and soaked or injected with a brine of salt and water and often sodium nitrite and nitrate, sugar and other flavourings. Some of these are cooked and ready to eat and many require cooking before eating, so do be sure you read the labels well.
Our friends at Oyama Sausage in Granville Island (purveyors of very fine pork products of all sorts), first taught us how to prepare a Swedish ham and we’ve modified the recipe over time. You need a bit more effort for this delicacy as it’s roasted slow, but the results are very well worth your efforts.
Preheat your oven to 275°F
Slow Roasting: Roast at 275°F (140°C) 40 min/lbs (90 min/kg)
Place the ham either on a cooking rack on top of a roasting or baking tray, or simply lay it skin side down on a slightly greased roasting pan or baking tray. We have a roasting rack that we like to use. Smear the top of the ham with about ½ cup of both mustard (grainy or not) and ½ cup of apricot preserves, 10 garlic cloves (either whole or crushed and smeared over ham), several sprigs of rosemary and sage.
Use a meat thermometer or a metal skewer to check for doneness, minimum 170°F (75°C) measured in the center of the ham. If the ham turns too dark, add some water and cover with aluminum foil. If you don’t have a thermometer stick to the times above.
Remove from the oven and let the meat rest covered with an aluminum foil and a towel for at least an hour and prepare some roast veggies and green beans to serve on the side.
There are some great sources of ham around Vancouver including Oyama Sausage in Granville Island, Pete’s Meats at 12th and Arbutus, Windsor Meats on Main Street, Harkness & Co on East Broadway, Hopcott Farms in Pitt Meadows and Hill’s Foods in Coquitlam.
Don’t forget to pick up some extra pork goodies such as breakfast sausages and bacon for the breakfast table and cured meats for pre-dinner charcuterie plates.
For more recipes from Good Life Vancouver click here.