Monday, January 3, 2011

Fresh Ham with Jezebel Sauce

I have had limited time and internet access for the past few weeks, so I have a little backlog of great Southern recipes waiting to find a spot on the blog. New Year's weekend was all about food. My brother-in-law smoked a whole wild pig, and we served it to a happy crowd with my Creamy Coleslaw for Pulled-Pork Sandwiches and Western North Carolina-style Vinegar BBQ Sauce. Next, we experimented with making Nate Waxman's Brisket from The New Basics on the smoker rather than the roasting it in the oven. And finally, the New Year's Day feast with my Fresh Ham with Jezebel Sauce as the centerpiece.
My mom often cooks a fresh ham during the holidays. We grew up eating it with ketchup and gummy white bread. While I still have an appreciation for that combination, I served mine with the Jezebel Sauce I'd made a couple of days earlier to slather on ham and cheese paninis. The Jezebel Sauce recipe we use was published in The Cotton Country Collection. It can be tough to find the pineapple preserves listed in the original recipe, but I find that apricot preserves work just as well.

A fresh ham is sometimes called a green ham. It has not been cured or smoked. It has a very different flavor -- more like a pork loin roast than what we typically think of as ham.
I cooked the recipe following instructions from my mom along with a few of my own embellishments and recommendations on cooking times and temperatures I found in various places online. A fresh ham needs to have a decent layer of fat on the top. The butcher had trimmed mine a bit too much so I had to go back and ask for some fat to layer on top!
Fresh Ham with Jezebel Sauce
For the ham:
  • Fresh ham, 8-10 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Jezebel Sauce:
  • 1 jar (16 to 18 oz) apricot preserves
  • 1 jar (16 to 18 oz) apple jelly
  • 1/2 cup horseradish
  • 3 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Place the ham in a large dutch oven or roaster and add water to a depth of about 3 inches.
  2. Salt and pepper the ham. Sprinkle the pickling spice on the ham and in the water. Put the quartered onion in the water.
  3. Place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  5. In a small saucepan, gently warm the jellie, horseradish, dry mustard and black pepper, stirring to combine.
  6. Let the ham cool to room temperature before slicing. The sauce should be served at room temperature as well.

I served the fresh ham and sauce with black-eyed peas, jalapeno cornbread and beer-braised cabbage for a delicious New Year's Day mid-afternoon meal. What a great combination! Fresh Ham with Jezebel Sauce just might be my new New Year's Day tradition.

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