This fresh pork roast will serve a large gathering of people who appreciate hearty food. Don't worry if the group includes the most jaded epicures; they always turn out to love delicious simple fare. Start cooking the ham at least six hours before you plan to serve it. Serve the ham with Cascade Mountain Seyval Blanc.
A whole fresh ham (not cured, not smoked), about 12 to 15 pounds
For the roasting pan
1 large onion
1 stalk celery
4 cloves garlic
3 large sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
For the cabbage
2 large onions, sliced
3 medium Mutsu or Cortland apples, peeled, cored,
and cut into 12 wedges each
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup good-quality dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
5 pounds red cabbage
For the sauce
1 cup apple cider
1 cup good-quaility dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar
1 large red-skinned apple
Don't remove the rind of the ham, which is crisp and delicious when roasted. If you can, have the butcher score the rind in a 1-1/2 inch crisscross pattern. You can do it yourself; use a sharp serrated knife because the rind is quite tough.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the vegetables for the roasting pan into chunks and spread them, with the thyme and hay leaves, in the pan. Set the ham on top and roast it for 3 hours. Check the vegetables in the pan from time to time and add a cup or so of water to the pan if they are sticking. Don't let them burn.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions, apples, and cabbage: Spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan into a large skillet or sauté pan and sauté the onions with the apples for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and some pepper and add the wine and stock to the pan. Bring to a boil, cover the pan, and simmer until the apples are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Trim the cabbage and cut it into 2-inch wedges. Cut out the core and slice the cabbage 1/2 inch thick.
After 3 hours, take the ham out of the oven. Set a baking sheet next to the roasting pan and, using pot holders or kitchen towels, pick up the ham and put it on the baking sheet. Pour off and discard the fat and vegetables in the roasting pan.
Prepare the sauce:
Add the cider, wine, and stock to the roasting pan. Bring to a boil on top of the stove and deglaze the pan, scraping all browned bits into the liquid. Add the cabbage, spreading it to cover the surface of the pan, and pour the apple mixture over it. Toss everything together to combine evenly and lay the ham on top of the cabbage. Cover the pan with foil and roast 1 hour. Then uncover the pan and continue to roast the ham, stirring the exposed cabbage from time to time, until the cabbage is cooked and the ham is crisp and brown and has come to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer, about 1 hour more.
Set the meat on a carving board for at least 1 hour; it will still be hot after 2 hours and it won't harm it a bit to wait that long. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a large, heatproof serving platter, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm in a low oven. Strain the pan juices into a saucepan, remove as much fat as you can and, skimming from time to time, reduce the sauce to 3 cups. Stir in the vinegar and simmer the sauce 5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Cut off the crisp rind and cut it into small serving pieces. Carve the ham perpendicular to the bone into 1/4 inch thick slices and arrange them over the cabbage. Scatter the crisp rind over the meat. Grate the unpeeled red apple and sprinkle it over the platter as garnish. Serve the meat and the cabbage together and pass the sauce in a sauceboat.
The Hudson River Valley Cookbook
By Waldy Malouf
with Molly Finn
Harvard Common Press
Paperback; 316 pages; $16.95
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created December 1998
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