sweet hamHam or hamon is one of the popular food in the Philippines during the holiday season. It comes in different flavors and variations depending on your liking. One local variant of ham is Hamon de Bola which is a ball-shaped wet cured ham.

Filipinos prefer the sweeter version of the ham, sweet ham. They are cooked in a special sweet broth (usually in syrup, spices and fruit juices) after being wet cured. Then the ham is scored, glazed, and roasted or baked. Feel free to try some of these favored sweet ham recipes.

Homemade Sweet Ham
Ingredients:
- 3 kilos (pigue or hita) pig’s leg without the bones; select one with the skin and fat intact
- 9 Tbsps sugar
- 8 tbsps salt
- 1-1/2 tsp msg or vetsin
- 2 tsp Prague powder (instead of saltpeter or salitre) – In Manila, you can probably buy salitre at Chocolate Lover, a supplier of baking and cooking supplies

Procedure:
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Rub these seasonings well into the meat. Set aside the seasoned meat in a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one day.

3. Tie the ham tightly into a ball with string (I use cotton crochet string). Remove/Drain the meat juices that were left in the glass bowl and set aside for injecting.

4. Using a huge syringe (you can buy the largest syringe at Mercury drugstore for less than 20 pesos), inject the flavored meat juice all around the ham in small doses.

5. Set the ham aside in the glass bowl (covered) inside the refrigerator. Repeat the injecting process every day until no juices remain.

6. Keep the ham inside a plastic bag in the freezer for a month or more.

To cook the ham:
1. Add enough pineapple juice to cover the ham at about 3/4’s level (not quite to the top of the ham).

2. Add the following:
Brown sugar, just enough to sweeten the pineapple juice mixture, Bay leaves, Crushed garlic

3. Cook the mixture in a heavy, Teflon-type pot over a low fire until the meat becomes tender. Watch out that the meat doesn’t get burned. You can prevent over-browning by turning the meat from time to time.

4. Cool the meat and slice into pieces.

If you want a drier ham, put the ham in a glass dish (pyrex) before cooling and slicing.
Recipe found at Pinoyfoodblog.com

sweet ham

Rita’s Sweet Holiday Baked Ham
Ingredients
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup ginger ale
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, halved
- 1 (12 pound) fully-cooked, bone-in ham
- 1 (15.25 ounce) can pineapple slices in juice, drained
- 1 box round wooden toothpicks

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350oF (175oC).

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the maple syrup, orange juice, ginger ale, brown sugar and honey. Stir in the juice from the maraschino cherries, and half of the cherries. Score the outer edge of the ham with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern. Cuts should be about 1/4 inch deep. This will allow the ham to soak up the juice.

3. Place the ham into an oven bag, and carefully pour the juice mixture over it, keeping all of the juice in the bag. It may look like there is too much juice, but the ham will soak it up while baking. Place the pineapples onto the top of the ham, and secure with toothpicks. Place cherries into the centers of the rings, and secure with toothpicks also. Tie the end of the bag closed with the ties provided, place in a large roasting pan, and cut a few small slits in the top of the oven bag.

4. Bake the ham for 2 hours in the preheated oven. The internal temperature should be 160oF (80oC) when done. Be sure not to touch the bone when taking the temperature. Remove ham from bag to a serving plate, and let stand for 10 minutes before carving. Recipe found at Allrecipes.com

Sources: pinoyfoodblog.com, allrecipes.com Photo: recipetips.com

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