Boiled Ham

Published: 28th February 2011
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1 ham, weighing from eight to ten pounds

1 bay leaf

6 cloves

1 teaspoonful of sugar

2 blades of mace

1 good handful of fresh, sweet hay, if you can get it

1 beaten egg

very fine bread crumbs

water-cress or parsley, for garnish


1. It is best to select the ham that weighs from 8 to 10 pounds. The one that is not too fat will be good. Wash the ham fully, remove mold or rust with a scrubbing brush.

2. Lay the ham in a large boiler. Pour over it enough cold water to cover it.

3. Add a bay leaf to the water together with half a dozen cloves, a teaspoonful of sugar, a couple of blades of mace, and a good handful of fresh, sweet hay, if you can get it.

4. Heat the water gradually, not reaching the boil under two hours. It should never boil hard, always simmer gently, until the ham has cooked 15 minutes to every pound.

5. The ham must cool in the liquor. The skin of the ham should not be removed until the meat is completely cold. Be careful not to break or tear the fat. Brush over the ham with beaten egg. Use very fine bread crumbs to strew the ham thickly. Brown in a quick oven.

6. Garnish the dish with parsley or surround the ham with water-cress. You can even arrange a frill of paper around the bone of the shank.

Boiling ham is a moist heat method of cooking. It is also healthy since no fat is added during the cooking process. It retains the flavor, moisture, and tenderness through a gentle simmering process. More flavor can be imparted in the meat by adding seasoning, such as cloves, bay leaves, and mace to the water. Allow the ham to cool for approximately 20 minutes before carving it. Cut in thin slices and serve.

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