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ham with apple juice

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by Nigel Slater

2kgs ham, tied
2 leeks
2 large ribs celery
a carrot
2 litres apple juice
15 juniper berries
a cinnamon stick
9 black peppercorns
6 or so parsley stalks
2 bay leaves


put the ham in a large saucepan (it should fit snugly).  Cover with water, bring to the boil, then pour the water away.  Rinse the ham and return to the pan.  Split leeks in half, discarding most of the tough, dark green tops, and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to get rid of residual soil.  Cut celery into short pieces and tuck into the pot with the leeks and the carrot.  Pour in the apple juice, adding a top-up of water if the juice doesn't quite over the ham.  Lightly flatten juniper berries with a large knife, then add them to the pot with the whole cinnamon stick, the peppercorns, parsley stalks and bay leaves.

bring the pot to the boil, turn heat down to a jolly simmer, then scoop off the froth.  Cover partially and leave for a couple of hours, checking from time to time that it isn't bubbling too fiercely or hasn't stopped altogether.  After two hours' cooking, check the ham for tenderness.  Leave it in the cooking liquor, the heat switched off, for up to 20 minutes before carving.  Serve in thick slices, drizzled with the hot, appley cooking liquor.  Accompany with mashed potatoes and the cranberry and orange sauce (see above).

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posted by sasha on 10 Feb 06 - 13466 views

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