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Sh-boogie bop (Cream)

Took off Thanksgiving.

None of the out-of-towners could come, so it was a small group of three. I've been wanting to do something involving ham, cream, mushrooms, and Marsala, so I thawed one of our 5lb smoked hams from the Haans (german traditional-style pig farmers of the caring variety; excellent pork; middling sausage if you're German or by dint of other cultural baggage to have been blessed on the sausage department; quite good sausage if you're not; bacon like no other in the region; present at all local markets thanks to one large trailer).

I "invented*" a ham method which I shall now demonstrate using ten fingers and electricity: Thaw the ham, place it in a large pot of cold water and bring it to a boil. Do this a second time to remove as much of the salt from the rind as possible. Place in a 375°F oven for the requisite amount of time 2 1/2 hours in our case. An hour before finishing, scrape out any burned crust to the drippings and surround the ham with small raw pearl onions, making sure they have their feet in the fat.

When the ham is ready and the onions are vaguely toasted, remove the ham to a separate plate in the still-hot but now turned-off oven (much cooled by your maneuverings), douse the onions with Marsala wine and dissolve what drippings you find. Sieve off onions and sautee in butter while the marsala-dripping mixture separates. The onions are finished when caramelized, with quite brown bits. Pour off the butter and deglaze with more Marsala. Once separated from the fat, the marsala-dripping mixture will be very salty, so use it sparingly to flavour the onions. Then, add enough heavy cream (35%) to to take the edge off (lots!) and reduce. Serve slices of ham on a bed of brown-and-wild mixed rice, covered with pearl onions and drizzled with the cream-Marsala mixture.

So excited was I by this invention that I paired it with diced acorn squash (only one, please) steam-sauteed gently in a small puddle of apple cider, butter, a spoonful of honey, and finely crushed allspice and black peppercorn. And because they looked so sad, all wilting away in their twin bunches: 1) beet-and-kale hot salad with balsamic vinegar, hazelnut oil and white sesame seeds with a dab of wasabi; But also: brussels sprouts (7 min. steam, butter & salt), corn on the cob (same).

For dessert, I cheated with storebought puff pastry: rolled out a disk, edges kinked, swirled in the centre with honey and flaked almonds dusted with ground cardamom. Gave that about 12 minutes to get toasted and tacky, then took it out and arranged thin wedges of apple in a swirl on it (honeycrisp in this case, though not always recommended) and gave it another 30 minutes on 450° until the apple is soft, but still dry and slightly burned at the edges. Sprinkled with Sailor Jerry to give it that vanilla-spice-rum aroma. With a dab of vanilla ice-cream.

Very happy with not being rushed, everything pairing together nicely, and with me not panicked, not trying to cook while cursing and sweating, and everything fitting in small bowls and cleaning up in one sinkload. Christmas as well? Maybe!

*i.e. failed to find mushrooms that might help it resemble the recipe I had originally intended.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 11th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
Ah, that ham sounds delicious.

A very simple thing my mother-in-law does with her hams is to pour a can of Coke over it, then take the drippings and make ham-flavored rice. I have the infamous disctinction of being told to share with others when we get together, and that rice is cooked.
Oct. 11th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
Brisket and Coke, I've heard of....
Oct. 11th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
Aaaaaaand you've just given me An Idea (tm).
Oct. 11th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
10PM is a bad time to go experimenting with coke and meat.... There's a crude joke in here somewhere, but I don't care to find it.

Ham, though. My grandma used to cross-hatch it, pin the Xs with cloves, then mix up equal parts flour, brown sugar, vinegar, and powdered mustard and paint it on for the last 1/2 hour of cooking so that it would make a glaze. It was so good I never did it any other way until recently.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )