Ham in Coca Cola and Corn Pudding
Anyhow, this rather put me off cooking and kitchens for a while. But all is now well and I'm moving on.
To get back into the swing of things I decided it was time to strike out in a new direction. If you peruse the archives of this blog you will notice lots of sweet, sugary things. That's because these are the things I am generally good at and therefore enjoy cooking. The awful truth is that I am a terrible meat cook. Mince I can do - lasagne, sausages, meat loaf. Give me a chicken , a leg of lamb, a kilo of gravy beef, and I will hand you back something tough, dry and tasteless.
It's time for this to change. So, I cast around for my first project and came up with ham. It's odd for sure, but I am intrigued by the idea of making my own ham. And I have seen endless rave reviews for Nigella's ham in coca cola (see recipe here), which is apparently moist, tender, delectable and dead easy.
The general method is to simmer the pork for a couple of hours, glaze and then bake.
So how did mine turn out. A bit tough and dry to be honest. In other words, business as usual (lol :-)). I may have been the meat that I used. The recipe calls for gammon which does not seem to exist here in Australia. I substituted a brined leg of pork from my local butcher. Or, it could have simmered at too high a temperature.
As for the taste, well that was very nice. I found the glaze to be sickly sweet, but the ham itself was very tasty.
I cannot help but wonder though, what the coke actually adds to this recipe other than novelty value. Nigella claims that using coke imbibes the ham with the spirit of barbecue. How? It adds no discernable flavour. So what is the point of Nigella's cherry coke recipe then? It may be moisture and tenderness, but is it really that different from ham cooked in water or stock? These are questions to ponder.
Nigella recommends serving this ham with corn pudding. I used this recipe from Epicurious. I left out the poblano chiles because they are not easily accessible here and the capsicum because I don't like them. It was really great. The corn flavour was intense and the pudding texture was lovely. The only issue was that it was overly sweet. The recipe calls for half a cup. I actually chickened out and only added a quarter of a cup. Corn is a sweet vegetable by itself. This was still too much. Next time I might limit it to a tablespoon.
As an added bonus, this recipe uses chihauhua cheese. I have never heard of that before. I would love to try it. I had to settle for plain old cheddar.
Despite their flaws these two dishes made an enjoyable meal. I am still keen to perfect the art of hams. So I will keep on trying and hopefully one day I will have something marvellous to report.