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Sunday, May 07, 2006






SUNDAY: GOD & GAMMON

Pork, obviously is one of the proofs of the existence of God. So what better to cook on a Sunday by way of offering?

Every now and again, I get the urge to cook gammon an often forgotten and much debased product of the pig ( think of those watery slices of gunk you see in the supermarket ) But, when of good origin and well prepared, it is one of my favourite pork joints

I am told the word originated from the French for back leg and the cut of pork is taken from the same part of the animal as ham but cut square rather than rounded. It is then brine cured. It can be smoked or left as it is ( known as green gammon )

My local butcher, James Elliot on The Essex Rd ( next door to Steve Hatt ) always has some of the best gammon I have found anywhere and so, when I decided to prepare this for Sunday lunch, I pre-ordered a large chunk cut from the knuckle end.

Yesterday morning after my training session I walked up there to pick up an unfeasibly large chunk of pig which, after managing to lug home, I put to soak in two changes of water overnight.

This morning, feeling heavy headed after a full on Dos Hermanos Wenlock/Mangal combo last night, I put the joint on a gentle simmer and strained off any impurities that came to the surface. Then, another change of water and a further simmer.

Then I drained the joint, peeled off the skin and scored the fat. I made a glaze by coating all over with English mustard, studding the fat with cloves and then sprinkling with muscavado sugar.

A final blitz in the oven to crisp up the glaze leaves a fabulously golden end product which I left to rest while making the traditional accompaniments. Boiled potatoes, shredded cabbage with bacon and a thick creamy parsley sauce.

There is plenty left, so I see some Pea & Ham soup in my immediate future.

A very simple, if slightly labour intensive lunch which I am now happily digesting while watching Arsenal say a suitable goodbye to Highbury.
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