Ham Slow-Cooked in Cola Treat in New British Collectionby Larry Cox on May. 20, 2012, under Uncategorized
Slow Cooker Magic by Lorna Brash (Pavilion, $19.95)
Lorna Brash is a British food writer and menu consultant. She has written extensively for such publications as Delicious, BBC Good Food, and the Daily Mail Weekend. Her latest collection focuses on delicious recipes made with the crock pot and a little imagination.
Slow cooking is ideal for people with busy lifestyles. After a brief introduction to this style of cooking, Brash serves up recipes in eight categories: Soups & Starters; Bakes; Stews, Casseroles & Sauces; Roasts; Curries & Tanines: Side Dishes; Desserts & Cakes; and Preserves. From Thai Pumpkin Soup to Cardamon Rice Pudding with Honey-Roasted Figs, these are recipes that will inspire cooks of all ages and levels of expertise.
With selections that include Gamekeeper’s Pie, Rich Steak, Mushroom and Pickled Walnut Pudding, and Fruit-Bowl Chutney, many of the dishes have a definite British twist to them To balance the mix, there are also American favorites such as Boston Baked Beans, Candied Sweet Potatoes, and Spicy Mexican Sausage and Beans.
This is a fun cookbook even though some of the ingredients may be a little difficult to find. Scan the meat counter at Safeway for peasants, for example.
I tested two recipes from this collection. The zesty Lemon Drizzle Poppy Seed Loaf was tasty but my hands down favorite was a Slow-Cooked Ham in Cola. The cola gave the meat a caramel quality and was ideal for providing the poaching liquid for an especially salty ham.
SLOW-COOKED HAM IN COLA
Prep time, 15 minutes plus overnight cooking
Cook 6 hours
Heat setting high
2 lbs 4 oz boneless smoked ham, soaked overnight in cold water.
3 ½ cups cola (I used Dr Pepper)
1 star anise
2 inches of fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, strings removed, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 bay leave
2 sprigs lemon thyme
2 Tbs dark brown sugar
1 tsp Dejon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs honey
Tip a way the ham soaking water and rinse the ham in cold running water. Drain again, then pat the ham dry with kitchen paper and transfer to the ceramic slow cooker.
Pour the color into a large saucepan and stir in the star anise, ginger, onion, celery, carrots, bay leaf, lemon thyme, sugar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then carefully pour over the ham. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 6 hours until the meat is tender and cooked through.
Preheat the grill to hot. Lift the ham out of the slow cooker pot. Remove the rind from the ham, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat in a diamond pattern and drizzle over the honey. Cook the ham under the grill until the fat is bubbling and golden. If serving the ham hot, wrap it in foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, strain the juices into a saucepan and boil rapidly until reduced by half. Season to taste and serve spooned over the cooked ham.