Ham baked with a crust of fresh Provençal herbs brings the flavors of spring to your table and makes an elegant main dish at any spring party or holiday feast.
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tsp. tarragon leaves, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. dried untreated lavender, chopped
- 1/2 fresh bone-in ham (6 to 8 pounds) preferably shank end, with skin on
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 c. chicken stock
- Step 1In a small bowl, combine thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and lavender. Place ham in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Rub herbs all over ham and set aside until ham reaches room temperature, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Step 2Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake ham until an instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone reaches 155°F, 2 to 2-1/2 hours (about 25 minutes per pound). Transfer ham to a wire rack. Tent ham loosely with aluminum foil and let stand until the center of ham registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes more.
- Step 3Meanwhile, skim and discard fat from pan drippings. Transfer defatted drippings to a small saucepan, add chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm until serving.
- Step 4Once ham has rested, transfer to a cutting board, carve, and serve with jus on the side.
Fresh vs Cured Hams
Fresh hams are raw and uncured. The meat, which cooks up white like a pork loin, has a subtler, less salty flavor than its deep-pink cured brethren. “Ask your butcher for the shank end, as it tends to be easier to carve,” suggests Virginia Willis. Store fresh ham in the refrigerator and cook or freeze it within 5 days.
Cured hams have been either soaked in or injected with a tenderizing brine (wet cured) or rubbed in salt and spices, then hung to age (dry cured). Some dry- cured pork, like Virginia country ham, is also smoked, resulting in an even saltier flavor. Store in fridge and cook or freeze uncooked cured hams within 5 days; country hams will last up to 8 weeks.