Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Ham is one of the most distinctive dishes in Polish cuisine, present on holiday tables and family gatherings for generations. Its intense flavor and tenderness have made it a symbol of culinary tradition. In this article, you will learn how to prepare traditional Polish ham – brined and scalded – in a simple way in the comfort of your home.
Brined and scalded ham is an integral part of Polish cuisine. Making it at home might be a challenge, but the end result will surely reward your efforts. The intense flavor, aromatic spice blend, and tenderness of the meat will make this traditional dish a hit with your family and friends.
- 1.5-2 kg boneless pork shoulder
- 100 g salt
- 40 g sugar
- 5 juniper berries
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 cloves
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 cup of ice
- Natural ham glaze (optional)
- In a mortar, grind juniper berries, cloves, garlic, black pepper, and mustard seeds into a smooth paste.
- In a bowl, combine salt, sugar, and the prepared spice paste from the mortar. Mix well.
- Wash and dry the pork shoulder thoroughly. Then gently massage the prepared brine mixture into the meat on both sides.
- Place the meat in a large drawstring bag or a heat-resistant container. Add bay leaves and a cup of ice. Close the bag or cover the container with plastic wrap.
- Place the pork in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days, depending on the size of the meat. Turn the meat and massage it in the brine mixture once a day.
Scalding the Ham
- After brining, remove the pork from the refrigerator and rinse it thoroughly under cold water to remove excess salt.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. You can add a few peppercorns and a bay leaf to the water for extra flavor.
- Once the water starts boiling, place the pork shoulder in the pot. Reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer the ham for about 1.5-2 hours until it becomes tender.
- Remove the meat from the pot and let it cool.
- Pat down and dry the cooled ham. If desired, you can brush it with a natural ham glaze to enhance the flavor.
- The ham can be served cold, sliced into thin pieces as a main snack or as an accompaniment to a meal.