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Boiled Fresh Ham

Serves 6

You can prepare a smoked ham this way too.

Pig Etching- a 3-4 lb ham shoulder

- 8-10 whole black peppercorns

- 6 large carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut in half

- an onion, peeled and studded with a few cloves (but only if you like them)

- 6-8 sprigs of parsley

- 2-3 bay leaves

- 1 heaped teaspoon dried thyme

- a Savoy cabbage, cored, trimmed and quartered

- 3 or more big potatoes, peeled and halved

  1. Put the ham and pepper in a big pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any scum.
  2. Simmer the ham for an hour and a half, then add the onion, carrots and herbs. After two hours, add the potatoes and 15 minutes later add the cabbage. When the potatoes and cabbage are tender the dish is done.
  3. Slice the ham very thin, butter the vegetables (they should not need salt or pepper) and serve with parsley sauce, mustard or Cumberland Sauce (or all three).


- Nothing should prevent anyone from adding or substituting leeks, parsnips, white turnips and celery, alone or in combination, to the pot, but be sure to include the potatoes and cabbage.

- The traditional Irish bacon and cabbage is cooked the same way but is more austere; it includes only the pork, water and cabbage and is always (like just about every other dish) served in Irish households with parsley sauce.