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Monday, May 2, 2016

Pulled Ham

Inspiration:  The ham with brown butter served at Vin et Papillon in St-Henri (Montreal) - right now my favourite restaurant with wonderfully inspired dishes (a lot of emphasis on vegetables and seasonal products).

Delicious pulled ham served with potato, onion perogies, poached egg,  maple brown butter and roasted cauliflower

I really love ham, but it has to be the right texture. I prefer a dryer ham to the very moist sliced variety. I was taught by my mother to cook ham immersed in water for long periods of time with an onion, carrot and celery flavour base (using the smoky stock later for pea soup). This is a long procedure and although it makes a delicious ham, I does not result in the texture that I like. I always end up putting it back in the oven with a glaze to attempt to dry it out a little.  

I decided I would try to cook a small ham in my pressure cooker in order to achieve a pulled meat texture that would lend itself well to sandwiches or this type of stacked breakfast/brunch dish - and would have the right texture for me. It worked wonderfully, was really easy to make and took just a little more than 45 minutes to cook. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can try this with a slow cooker.

I served it here with some store bought potato and onion perogies (choose the flavour you prefer or make your own), a poached egg and a little drizzle of brown butter and maple syrup. It was really delicious - a nice change from the usual hash browns served for breakfast/brunch. I cook the perogies the same way as dumplings and I've outlined how to do it just below the ham recipe. It's quick and done in one pan while the ham is cooking.  

The ham is salty with lots of texture and the slightly sweet, smooth flavour of the perogies and onions helps to balance the dish out well. The poached egg adds creaminess and the maple brown butter,  a bit of sweet nuttiness. The result is a wonderful alternative for a weekend brunch. I hope you enjoy.

Pulled Smoked Ham:  4 generous portions
  • 1- 1lb (550g) small smoked ham, cut in 8 equal pieces
  • 2 cups (480ml) of water
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) of grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) of sweet mango chutney (or maple syrup)
  • 1 medium carrot, washed and cut in three pieces
  • 1 small onion or medium shallot, peeled and cut into quarters
  • fresh thyme (if you have some - totally optional)
How to make it:

Place the water (2 cups - 480ml), the grain mustard (1/4 cup - 60ml) the mango chutney or maple syrup (1/4 cup - 60ml), the carrot (1 medium), the onion (1 small) and the thyme in the pressure cooker over high heat. Bring to a boil.

Add the ham (1 small 550g - 1lb) pieces. Close the pressure cooker and lock. Allow the pressure valve to come up to the third rung (maximum pressure) and lower the heat to just below medium in order to maintain this setting for a full 35 minutes. 

After 35 minutes, remove from the heat and allow the pressure valve to return to a neutral position (about 15 minutes). Unlock and open the lid and transfer the cooked ham into a bowl. Using two forks, pull the meat apart. Allow to cool and keep covered in the fridge for a few days. Enjoy!  Psst:  makes a great grilled ham and cheese!😉

A quick and easy way to cook perogies:  make 2 - 3 perogies per person as a side dish.

Put a large pan over medium high heat with 2 T (30ml) of oil.  Place the frozen perogies in the pan and allow to colour on one side (about 5 minutes).  

Flip the perogies and allow them to colour on the other side for about 2 minutes. Add 3T (45ml) of water and cover the plan.  Steam them this way, covered, for 5 minutes.  

Remove the lid, and drain out the water. Add 1T (15ml) of salted butter and continue to cook until they are golden and crisp.  

For the maple brown butter:

Brown 1/4 cup (60ml) of salted butter and add 1T (15ml) of maple syrup. Drizzle over the eggs and ham.

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