Fresh Ham and Leg of Lamb

Fresh Ham

Every year the star of my Easter table is the Roast Leg of Lamb.  Juicy and flavorful, this dish is a family favorite (especially with my daughters).  But, I recognize that some people prefer other meats to lamb, and I like to have a variety of food available to please everyone’s tastes.

 I usually  make a very traditional baked ham, however, this year  I am going to make one of my husband, Tom’s favorite dishes from his youth; a Fresh Ham (also known as  the pork leg).  Due to the cooking method, this roast produces a crispy skin that tastes like bacon, and is totally addicting! The fresh ham roasts slowly for about five hours in the oven, and is bathed in white wine and herbs during the cooking process.  The result is a roast that is moist and flavorful and complements all the other dishes at my table (roasted potatoes with shallots, asparagus, etc).

Although the picture above is of the Fresh Ham, I am giving you my Roast Leg of Lamb recipe too…It is just too good to miss out on!

Fresh Ham

Serves 10

  • 1 Bone in fresh ham (10 pounds)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 Teaspoon thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 Teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 Large yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 Stalks of celery, left whole
  • 4 Carrots, peeled and left whole
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Cup white wine
  • ½ Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Cups chicken stock

To Prepare the Meat

Score the fat about 1 ½ inches deep in a diamond pattern.

Drizzle the fresh ham with the olive oil, and sprinkle on the garlic salt, thyme, rosemary, and pepper.

Place the onions, celery, carrots and bay leaves in the bottom of a roasting pan, and then place the fresh ham on top of the vegetables.

Roast the fresh ham at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325 and roast for one more hour.

When the hour is up, pour the wine and the vinegar over the meat, and roast another 3 ½ to 4 hours (or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 185 degrees.

Remove the ham to a platter and cover loosely with foil.  Let the roast sit for one hour (this is very important, as the roast will continue to cook, and the juices will redistribute in the meat, which will ensure a moist roast).

To Make the Sauce

Remove the vegetables from the roasting pan and discard.

Pour off the fat from the pan and add three cups of chicken stock.  Bring this to a simmer being sure to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Mix two tablespoons of cornstarch and two tablespoons of heavy cream together, and pour the mixture into the sauce.

Whisk vigorously until the sauce thickens.

To Carve the Fresh Ham

Starting at the shank end and keeping the knife at a right angle to the bone, cut the meat into slices.

The Elegant Occasion Wine Pairing: White Wine – German Riesling  Red Wine – Pinot Noir


Roasted Leg of Lamb

 Serves 8-10

  • 1 Bone-In Leg of Lamb (approximately 9 pounds)
  • 2 Cloves garlic, chopped thinly
  • 2 Teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½  Teaspoons salt
  • 1 Teaspoon pepper

To Prepare the Lamb:

With a sharp knife, trim away the white skin (fell) and any excess fat covering the meat (you can have your butcher do this for you).

Score small slits in the lamb with a paring knife and insert small pieces of garlic into each slit.  Space the slits out making approximately 12-15 slits in total.

Rub the entire leg of lamb generously with olive oil.

Sprinkle the salt, pepper and fresh rosemary over the meat.

Once prepared in this manner, let the meat rest for one to two hours at room temperature to absorb the flavors.

To Roast the Lamb:

Place the lamb in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 and roast until an oven thermometer registers 125 degrees when placed in the thickest part of the meat. In total the meat will cook for approximately an hour and a half.

Remove the lamb from the oven and place a piece of foil over it loosely.

Let the lamb rest with the foil covering for 25 minutes. The lamb will continue to cook during that time and will achieve the perfect temperature while being pink and juicy.

To Make the Sauce

  • ½ Cup beef broth
  • Splash of dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Transfer any pan drippings to a sauce pan and skim off the grease.

With the heat on medium low, add a 1/2 cup of beef broth and a splash of red wine.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and serve with the meat, along with mint jelly if you desire.

The Elegant Occasion Wine Pairing:  Red Bordeaux, Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot or Shiraz

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