Did I mention that I’ve got a lot of pork? Yes, yes I do. And I’m trying to make some room in the very stuffed chest freezer for chicken stock, bell peppers, pumpkin purée; the last put-ups of the season, really, before the snow flies. One good way to clear out a chunk of freezer real estate is to cook a roast.
“Fresh” ham is pork from the leg, but not cured or smoked (and hence not pink) like a traditional canned ham. The flavor is similar to pork loin, although the meat is not as tender, being from the leg. Fresh ham tends to come as a steak or tied roast; the slightly dense meat works well in a braise but also quite nicely in a roast, although I do think it needs some sort of glaze or rub to perk it up a bit.
I don’t really know why red currants popped into my mind when I was making this roast. I didn’t find any this year, but I did have one last, precious quarter-pint jar of red currant & mint preserves on the pantry shelves. I’m glad I searched for it, because the red currant glaze worked beautifully in this dish: the jelly glazed the outside of the pork while the whole currants burst with flavor on the palate. Nicely impressive for such a simple dish.
I’ve since taken the leftovers of the roast and transformed them into a rather delightful and flavorful stew. Fresh ham: it’s more economical than loin or shoulder and definitely worth a try.
p.s. You know what’s great for storing leftover roast? Glass storage containers. Three more days to enter to win your own set!
- one 2 – 3 lb fresh ham roast (I got mine from Millstone Farm)
- olive oil
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 lbs fingerling potatoes
- splash of red wine, for deglazing
- minimum of ½ cup red currant preserves
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Arrange the potatoes in a medium roasting pan or casserole; drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the roast liberally on all sides with salt & pepper.
- In a medium skillet, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add roast and sear, turning, until nicely browned on all sides. Position the roast on the bed of potatoes. Deglaze skillet with red wine, scraping up the fond, and pour the deglazed pan juices over the roast.
- Roast in the preheated oven, basting now and then if you like, for about 2 hours (or to an internal temperature of 130 degrees). If necessary, thin red currant preserves with a tablespoon or two of red wine; glaze the roast with half of the preserves. Roast for 15 minutes. Glaze roast again. Continue to roast until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
- Allow roast to rest for 15 minutes prior to carving. Meanwhile, transfer roast & potatoes to a serving platter. Scrape juices and browned bits from the roasting pan to a skillet. Reduce pan juices, stirring constantly, over high heat, then strain into a clean pitcher or gravy boat. Serve with hot pan juices and any remaining red currant glaze.
Serves 6 – 8.
- The glaze and the pan juices are important elements to the final dish; served without them, the skin of the roast was delicious and flavorful but the meat was a bit blah.
- Obviously other flavors of jam or preserves could be used: apricot is often served with roast pork, as is cranberry. But if you can find it, I have to say that the red currant was special. A ½ cup of preserves was the bare minimum for glazing; for leftover glaze for serving, I would use a full cup/half pint.
Store refrigerated for up to 5 days.