Friday, April 9, 2010
A non-traditional (for Corfu) Easter Dinner or Hamming it up!
My dear T is not fond of lamb. Though he does enjoy it, once in a while, slow-roasted over an open fire with olive wood coals...
Still, in all, he prefers ham. A ham at Easter is traditional in his family. Who am I to buck tradition??
Due to the furniture packing, shipping and arrival taking up pretty much the whole week before Easter, and as we really had only exchanged via email with the people we'd made the arrangements with, (as well as at least 15 phone calls back and forth to Brussels!) we were inclined to not take on any Easter holiday commitments that we might have been squeezed to fulfill should anything with the moving/arrival of the furniture have gone pear-shaped at the last minute.
I really did mean to go into town and document all the Holy Week celebrations and parades and wonderful fun things in town this year, but alas, for anyone who wants my take on these things, you will have to wait another year. (I've seen them and been to them over the years, but I've never tried to describe it all to anyone. And obviously, I still won't - for another year!)
So, I decided to get the ham, which is actually a big hunk of gammon, something I was totally unfamiliar with before I lived in Corfu.
In the U.S. in fact they even have stores that sell just hams! And I might add these hams are delicious, warm or cold. They are not canned or pre-fabricated hams, these are the real deal. But there are no Honey-Baked Ham stores in Greece.
So I went to the "pork meat" place - which is what I call it because that is all they sell - out on the Paleocastritsa road (going out of town, a little past the Casa Lucia turn off, on the right side of the road...very unprepossessing looking with a little porthole window, for those reading this blog, who live here and haven't found it yet!) There I found my 4 kilos (about 8 lbs) of fresh gammon in its sealed pouch.
And so began our Easter dinner.
Friday afternoon I rinsed the gammon and put it in a pot deep enough to fill with water and cover the beast. I added a small amount of apple juice to the water, covered the pot and left in in the "beer" fridge to soak for 24 hours.
Saturday evening, I emptied the pot, and rinsed the meat off. Then I refilled the pot with fresh water and put the beastie back in the water. I boiled/ simmered it for about two hours. Then I turned the heat off and went to bed, leaving the ham in the the hot water on the stove overnight. In the morning the pot was still pretty hot (It was a big pot filled with a big ham and a lot of hot water. For a smaller ham, maybe I'd refrigerate it but this is how I made my ham... )
For all practical purposes the ham is now cooked and you can slice it and eat it and it's just fine. It shrinks a bit when you boil it.
But we wanted a nice baked ham, so the next step was to heat the oven to about 160 c/320(-ish) f and then cut off the thin layer of skin on top, while still keeping the fat covering the ham. Many people score the ham in a diamond pattern. I forgot. (Sometimes if the ham is odd shaped I will tie it into a more ham-like thing, but this one was close to perfect.) I baked the ham for a couple of hours. Twenty minutes before I was going to take it out, I covered it all over with a mixture of about a cup of dark brown sugar mixed with two big tablespoons of dark honey and a big tablespoon of Dijon mustard.
It turned out perfectly! I served it with mashed potatoes, flat green beans (zapped in the microwave for 4 minutes) and homemade applesauce with raspberries. It was a very yummy meal.
T took a picture of it as he was so impressed.
For dessert we had Belgian chocolates.