Recipe for braised ham with spinach

_Braised Ham with Spinach.

When about to dress a ham, care must be taken after it has been trimmed, and the thigh-bone removed, that it be put to soak in a large pan filled with cold water; the length of time it should remain in soak depending partly upon its degree of moisture, partly upon whether the ham be new or seasoned. If the ham readily yields to the pressure of the hand, it is no doubt new, and this is the case with most of those sold in the spring season for such as those a few hours' soaking will suffice, but when hams are properly seasoned, they should be soaked for 24 hours. Foreign hams, however, require to be soaked much longer, varying in time from 2 to 4 days and nights. The water in which they are soaked should be changed once every 12 hours in winter, and twice during that time in summer; it is necessary to be particular also in scraping off the slimy surface from the hams, previously to replacing them in the water to finish soaking.

When the ham has been trimmed and soaked, let it be boiled in water for an hour, and then scraped and washed in cold water; place it in a braizing-pan with 2 carrots, as many onions, 1 head of celery, 2 blades of mace, and 4 cloves; moisten with sufficient common broth to float the ham, and then set it on the stove to braize very gently for about four hours. To obtain tenderness and mellowness, so essential in a well-dressed ham, it must never be allowed to boil, but merely to simmer very gently by a slow fire. This rule applies also to the braizing of all salted or cured meats. Where the ham is done, draw the pan in which it has braized away from the fire, and set it to cool in the open air, allowing the ham to remain in the braise. By this means it will retain all its moisture; for when the ham is taken out of the braize as soon as done, and put on a dish to get cold, all its richness exudes from it. The ham having partially cooled in its braise, should be taken out and trimmed, and afterwards placed in a braizing-pan with its own stock; and about three-quarters of an hour before dinner put either in the oven or on a slow fire. When warmed through place the ham on a baking-dish in the oven to dry the surface, then glaze it; replace it in the oven again for about three minutes to dry it, and glaze it again, by that time the ham, if properly attended to, will present a bright appearance. Put it now on its dish, and garnish it with well-dressed spinach, placed round the ham in tablespoonfuls, shaped like so many eggs, pour some sauce round the base, put a ruffle on the bone, and serve.

Note.--This ham, dressed according to the foregoing directions, may also be served with a garnish of asparagus-peas, young carrots, green peas, broad beans, French beans or Brussels sprouts.

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