- Date: Saturday, December 31, 2011 -- 7pm
- Location: Westerville, OH
- Kitchen: Dave and Karen's House
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Dining Companions: Dave, Karen H, Brad, Deniz, Wes, Lorna, Eddie, Evelyn, and Jinx
- Recipe Rating: A-
On New Year's Eve, I started by pricking the skin and then scoring the skin down the entire length of the ham. I rubbed the ham with oil, salt, thyme, sage, pepper, and dry mustard. I roasted the ham for a while, then poured a half a bottle of beer over it. I roasted it some more, then poured more beer on it. I continued to roast it until it reached about 155 degrees. When I took it out of the oven it looked like this:
I pulled the crispy skin off the pork and cut it into pieces. Then I seasoned the cracklings with salt and baked them some more until they were super crispy! Meanwhile, I made gravy from the pan juices, using flour, beef stock, mustard, sage, thyme, sugar, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. I trimmed the fat off the ham and sliced it. I then served it with the gravy and the cracklings.
This pork was tasty. The meat was moist and flavorful, and the gravy complemented it very well. The cracklings were the star of the dish (or at least they were the aspect of the dish that my brother-in-law Wes went on and on about during dinner!). My special gentleman has a name for items like this: fatty, crispy, flavorful nuggets, often coming from the skin of some kind of animal. He calls them super bacon. This was super bacon to the extreme. The skin was extremely crispy and intensely flavorful. It was not a light snack, and I could only eat a few small pieces of it, but several people at the table were really chowing down on the cracklings. They were something pretty special. Overall this was a nice pork preparation, and a fun way to prepare and serve an unusual cut of pork.
The recipe is here.
Only 3 recipes left to go!
This was the last recipe in the Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb section of The Book! With 126 recipes in it, this was the second longest section. There were many amazing recipes in this section, so it is hard to narrow it down to just 5. But in no particular order, here are my 5 favorites:
- Georgian Pork Stew -- I love braised meat (love it!) and braised pork may well be my favorite. So it's no surprise that I was completely taken by this stew, which melded braised pork with fantastic flavors from spices such as fenugreek, savory, turmeric, coriander, etc... Yum!!
- Lamb Chops with Mustard Sauce and Fried Capers -- Just this afternoon I was at the butcher shop and the person in front of me was buying lamb chops. I thought longingly of this recipe and considered ditching my previous plans and buying some lamb chops for myself too! The lamb chops in this recipe were cooked perfectly and the sauce was crazy delicious. The fried capers added a perfect little crunch and brine.
- Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans -- This recipe might well make my top 10 list for the entire book! These lamb shanks braised in red wine were absolutely perfect, and the white beans were incredibly tasty. I originally made this for just Chris and my special gentleman when we were living in Berkeley, but last Easter I used this recipe to braise lamb shanks for about 20 people and they were enjoyed by all.
- Salt-Fried Rib-Eye Steak -- I have very fond memories of the first time we made this. It was when I lived in Bloomington, Indiana. The apartment completely filled with smoke and we feared that our dinner was ruined. But that's just the way it goes with this recipe. It produces an incredible amount of smoke and the steak comes out perfect! Totally worth it!
- Chinese-Hawaiian "Barbequed" Ribs -- I made these ribs in Boston one summer evening, for dinner with Mike, Rach, and my special gentleman. The ribs came out tender and delicious and drenched in an incredibly tasty sauce. We sat around the table, laughing and licking our fingers. It was a lovely evening with tasty food!
Well, this is the 19th section that I have finished from The Book. I only have 2 sections (3 recipes!) left to go! I am happy to announce that I now have a plan for finishing this project. It's true, I have been moving at a snail's pace on these last few recipes. Partly it has been because I have been busy. But much more than that, it was just not knowing the right way to mark the end of the project. It seemed sad just to finish it off by eating the last few recipes at home with only my special gentleman. In the end I decided to plan a celebration! So, I am cooking the last three recipes next weekend. Some special guests (including Chris, Mike, Paul, Dave, Karen, Brad, Deniz, Hannah, Mike M, Teresa, and Sami) are traveling to East Lansing to be a part of the festivities. We are going to smoke bacon and stuff turkey with turkey. Then on Easter we will eat the last three recipes (and a bunch of other food!) joined by some friends of ours from East Lansing. I am very excited! I am sure the weekend will be chaotic and fun, which seems like an appropriate way to finish off this project, which has been such a part of my life for so many years. I am so glad that some of our friends are able to travel to Michigan to be here for the end of the project. I am honored and delighted!