Cheese Makers Forum FAQ Equipment part 1 Equipment part 2 History

Sunday, March 15, 2009

And what did you have for dinner?

'Cuz we had some home cured ham and roasted parsnips and taters. The ham was a pork loin that I cured with salt, sodium nitrate, white and brown sugar, coriander, bay leaf, and pepper. I've made it many times, and the ham freezes very well, so it is quite economical to cure and freeze.

The texture isn't like that of ham that you buy from the store. That has been over processed, compressed, and had a lot of fillers added. This style has a fuller, cleaner flavor that actually tastes like real food as opposed to food-product. Most ham is to this as Cheese Whiz is to Camembert.

Cooking this style of ham is as varied as any recipe, but my preferred method is to confit it. Basically, cook it in the oven covered in fat for eight to twelve hours. It is similar to carnitas in concept, and leaves you with--believe it or not--a fairly lean tasting, mouth watering, and fall-apart-on-fork ham. If people are interested I can post more specifics.

The parsnips and taters tasted amazing. Making this style of roast veg is quite easy.

  1. Quarter the vegetables
  2. Boil them until the taters edges start to look just a tad ragged
  3. Drain, toss with oil, salt, and herbs (thyme, oregano, and rosemary)
  4. Put on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and broil until golden brown
The longer they are in the broiler, the better the 'crust' will be. The biggest advantage this cooking method gives is a fantastic compromise on cooking time and flavor--boiling first makes it cook much, much faster, and the broiling with oil and herbs gives it an immense flavor and crust.

With that being said, don't do taters just by themselves. Adding parsnips or other root vegetables is a huge plus taste wise. The parsnips almost tasted cinnamony, and really complemented the whole meal.

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