Here is a sensible prescription from Julia Child for cooking a whole ham, which was featured in a New York Times article by Julia Moskin that explored the quandary of how to make a flavorful Easter ham. Braise the meat in wine and water to finish the cooking, then roast it in a hot oven to crisp the surface. The end result is glazed with mustard and brown sugar and crusted with golden bread crumbs. One note: this is a recipe for a cured ham, not a fresh one.
Learn: How to Cook Ham
cooked, bone-in “city ham,” whole or half, 8 to 12 pounds
tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
cup sliced carrots
cup sliced onions
Herb bundle of 12 parsley sprigs, 6 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 12 peppercorns, 3 cloves, tied together in cheesecloth
bottle dry white wine
- If there is tough skin covering the top of the ham, cut it off to expose the fat.
- In a large, deep pot, heat butter or oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onions and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Place the ham on the vegetables, fatty side up. Add herb bundle, wine and 1 quart water and bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 2 to 3 hours at a bare simmer; baste with ladle every 20 minutes. After 2 hours, test with meat thermometer: ham is ready when internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Turn off the heat.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Drain ham, reserving cooking liquid to use for stock (it freezes well). Place ham on a rack in a roasting pan, fatty side up, and score fat in a diamond pattern with tip of sharp knife. If using glaze, brush it on now.
- Place ham in oven; roast 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. If using glaze, brush on more after first 10 minutes of cooking.
- Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest 20 to 30 minutes before carving.