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Braised-then-Baked Ham

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Here is a sensible prescription from Julia Child for cooking a whole ham, which was featured in a New York Times article by Julia Moskin that explored the quandary of how to make a flavorful Easter ham. Braise the meat in wine and water to finish the cooking, then roast it in a hot oven to crisp the surface. The end result is glazed with mustard and brown sugar and crusted with golden bread crumbs. One note: this is a recipe for a cured ham, not a fresh one.


  • 1

    cooked, bone-in “city ham,” whole or half, 8 to 12 pounds

  • 3

    tablespoons butter or vegetable oil

  • 1

    cup sliced carrots

  • 1

    cup sliced onions

  • Herb bundle of 12 parsley sprigs, 6 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 12 peppercorns, 3 cloves, tied together in cheesecloth

  • 1

    bottle dry white wine

  • Glaze, optional

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  1. If there is tough skin covering the top of the ham, cut it off to expose the fat.
  2. In a large, deep pot, heat butter or oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onions and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Place the ham on the vegetables, fatty side up. Add herb bundle, wine and 1 quart water and bring to a simmer.
  4. Cook for 2 to 3 hours at a bare simmer; baste with ladle every 20 minutes. After 2 hours, test with meat thermometer: ham is ready when internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Turn off the heat.
  5. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Drain ham, reserving cooking liquid to use for stock (it freezes well). Place ham on a rack in a roasting pan, fatty side up, and score fat in a diamond pattern with tip of sharp knife. If using glaze, brush it on now.
  6. Place ham in oven; roast 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. If using glaze, brush on more after first 10 minutes of cooking.
  7. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
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