Red-Cooked Fresh Ham
New format recipeFrom Irene Kuo, The Key to Chinese Cooking
- fresh ham, shank end, about 7.5 lbs.
- 2 tbs. oil
- 6 quarter-sized slices ginger
- 4 scallions, cut in half
- 1 c. dark soy sauce
- 3/4 c. dry sherry
- 5 c. boiling water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4-5 tbs. crushed rock sugar
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 stick cinnamon, broken in two
- Heat large heavy pot until hot. Add oil, swirl to cover bottom
and sides of pot, and heat for 30 seconds. Toss in ginger and
scallions, press into oil, then add ham and sear it, turning,
until surface has whitened.
- Add dark soy sauce and 1/4 c. dry sherry. Turn ham from side
to side to color it all over. Add boiling water, then scatter
in salt, 4 tbs. rock sugar, star anise, and cinnamon sticks.
Stir until liquid boils again, cover, and adjust heat to
maintain a very gentle simmer. Simmer 5 hours, turning and
basting meat every hour.
- Add another 1/2 c. sherry, and 1 tbs. rock sugar (or to taste).
Cover and simmer 30 minutes more, by which time the ham should
be glistening and ready to fall apart. Raise heat to bring the
sauce to a gentle bubble, and baste meat continuously for 5
minutes to deepen the color of the meat and thicken the sauce.
- Carefully lift meat from pot onto serving dish. Skim fat from
sauce, bring to a boil, then pour it over the meat, discarding
ginger, scallions, star anise and cinnamon sticks. Serve
remaining sauce on side.
- Fresh ham is hard to find. I tried this once with a store-bought
cooked ham. My father complimented me on the best ham he'd ever
tasted, but I found it bitter around the edges. The second time
I made this was on finding a very small (2.5 lb.) "fresh ham" in
a Vietnamese grocery store. I cooked it about 3 hours, and got
pretty much the result that I expected, except that the meat
tasted more like pork loin than ham. Don't know whether
that was mislabeling (there was no bone) or the effect of the
cooking process, but it was delicious. One of these days I'll
find a butcher and order a proper ham.
Keywords: Chinese, Pork, Ham.