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  • Writer's pictureChef Simeon Hall Jr.

No BERLIN' Your Ham!

The trumpets are sounding; the King has been born. During this season, this miraculous story is being told in so many ways. The internet is a buzz with shopping and the travel world is at its peak. So many things are going on that it’s hard to focus on any one thing except for that ever-faithful Christmas dinner and the memories of going from family home to family home. The Auntie that never comes on time with the macaroni has been forewarned and the other Auntie that doesn’t use salt has been threatened.

Junkanoo tickets have been purchased for the spectators in the family; and as customary, those headed to Bay Street will be given extra helpings at the family gathering. The family has surely seen some people leave and a few added as the bittersweet memories of loved ones are certain to spark hilarious memories of all who are no longer here. Despite all the changes, the one thing remains constant is the joy of sitting with family around great food for the holidays.  

Christmas is the celebration of life and living. They joy of a Savior who is most pleased to see all families in prayer and fellowship together. With the numerous occasions of eating and dining, Jesus Himself was arguably one of the first Celebrity Foodies. From the miracles of water to wine to the feast in the upper room, I am surely not pushing the envelope by inferring that Jesus would and could appreciate great food. Notwithstanding, I often wonder what I would prepare for someone so majestic. Although that menu has yet to be written, I do know that this year’s family Christmas dinner will be divine to say the least and I do hope that it is at your home as well.

To add a touch of celestial grace to your table, try adding my stout basted ham to your dinner table with some sage stuffing. Because frankly, what is Christmas dinner without the leftover ham sandwich the morning after?



Final Chef Tips of 2023

In the food world, it is certainly considered sacrilegious to simply boil any meat – especially a skillfully salted preserved smoked ham. This déclassé is simply ruined by careless submergence of cured meat into bland plain tap water.

buy a good quality ham - something with the skin still on and one that has been smoked. All hams are cured and according to the company retain different levels of salinity.  My rule of thumb is to simply soak the ham in a food safe container for 24 hrs in cold water. (Change it twice if you want the ham even less salty, but remember DIS IS HAM!) If you buy a frozen ham, then two days before simply thaw it in cold water, and pat dry before serving and your ham will be the perfect cured smoky goodness that you will enjoy. Remember ham is ham. It is salted cured meat that should be enjoyed in moderation at its intended flavor profile.

Stuffing vs. Dressing – In the Bahamas we call all forms of delight stuffing. But the truth is stuffing is cooked inside the bird and dressing is baked separately in a pan and served. I prefer stuffing. Yes, it is often less but nothing beats that incubated goodness naturally

basted inside your turkey. My recipe can be used for either.


Stout Glazed Ham

Ingredients

1 14-16 pound bone-in, skin on ham (ask your butcher to split lengthways if you have a small oven)

2 bottles of your favorite stout (I use Sands Strong Back)

6 bottles of malt beverage ( I use Sands Triple B)

10 allspice seeds

5 cloves

2 oz fresh ginger

2 cloves of fresh peeled garlic

2 sticks of cinnamon

Fresh grated nutmeg

Method – Preheat your oven to 325⁰F. In a large stock pot all the spices and gently toast them on medium heat. This will brighten them and bring their oils to the surface. Then slice the garlic and fresh ginger. Constantly stir for a minute then add the stout and malt. Reduce by one half and the sugars in the beverages will guide it to a light syrup that will continue to thicken in the oven.

Place the ham in a roasting pan or a skillet and bake at 325 for about 15 per pound. So, yes you need to do some calculations. If you like your ham deeply glazed start basting it with the glaze half way through. Remember sugars caramelize easily so…….. Also flip the ham each time for even glazing and cooking. Then for a crispy skin, turn the oven to 400⁰F and let it rip.

Now here’s where we all go wrong. LET YOUR HAM REST. IN SIMPLE TERMS DO NOT CUT THE HAM FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES OR THOSE JUICES THAT RUN OUT AND LOOK GOOD IF YOU’RE MAKING A TIKTOK VIDEO WILL ESCAPE AND YOUR HAM WILL BE DRY! NOT EVEN THE CORNER DAD!  

My Mother Linda’s Amazing Stuffing

1 cup each of diced celery, yellow onion 2 tablsp of fresh thyme leaves 4 pieces fresh sage (that rubbed sage in the spice isle is a last last resort) 1/2 cup of butter or accumulated turkey or bacon fat. 2 tins of albacore tuna in oil (My mom's secret that is so divine) 1/2 goat pepper 1 cup chicken stock, homemade or low sodium or store bought 2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 packs low sodium saltine crackers 2 cups of your choice, toasted old bread, leftover johhny cake corn bread whatever as long as its stale, and oven dried (Make sure that it is really toasted nice and brown) Optional - 1/2 pound chicken or turkey liver ground. (Use the giblet pack from the turkey if you want, including the neck meat. Boil and pick it. Sage breakfast sausage is also great)

Remember Stuffing is cooked inside the bird and dressing is cooked in a pan in the oven. If you are stuffing your bird make it a little drier because it will absorb juices from the turkey.

Method: In a large pan add your butter, onions, celery and garlic all at once in a cold pan. Essentially poaching the vegetables in butter not sautéing them. (This is how I do it) Add the goat pepper, the tuna and the minced liver and cook gently, It may seem like a lot of butter but the bread needs it. Add half the chicken stock then add the crackers and bread. This is when your Chef senses go to work. Add only the amount of stock you need. Cook until everything is well blended. Season it at the end and add the fresh herbs, (thyme and sage).

Chef notes: Thyme and sage are fragrant but delicate herbs. By adding them near the end of cooking, you release more of the oils with less heat. Try adding your fresh thyme to your peas and rice at the end after you have turned the pot off.

The Morning-After Sandwich

Church is out, Junkanoo is almost over and there is no time to slave in the kitchen yet again. So here is my five minute ultimate ham sandwich. Please no tomatoes, cheese, pickles onions and all that condiment stuff. Simple here is best. Quick and easy. The perfect morning after sandwich that should not be tinkled with.

Heat a skillet on medium heat and a dollop of unsalted butter. Add your favorite cut of leftover ham. Be generous it is the holidays. Sear on each side for a minute and a half on each side.  Remove and place your favorite type of bread and toast in the “ham butter”. Slather on some yellow mustard. Press and serve. 



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