Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cooking with Sea Cider Prohibition – Entrée Recipe

Recipe Pairing Flavors:
A bourbon barrel aged cider full of aromas and flavors of caramel, molasses and rum with a note of toasted oak, that’s all wrapped up in tart-sweet heirloom apples.  Mouthfilling, full-bodied and gently effervescent, Prohibition finishes dry and crisp, with a pleasingly lingering warmth.

Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Side Dish recipe?
You’ll find it in next Thursday’s post.

Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Side Dish II recipe?
It’ll be following the first Side Dish post.

Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert recipe?
It’s on the way after Side Dish II.

Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert II recipe?
We’ll wrap up the series and 2014 with this December 26th post.


Celebrations are festive – they come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are grand and some informal, but usually they're all about saying "thanks."

So, when you feel grateful, do you think of cranberries?

Probably not.

But, if you were a starving English settler in early 17th-century Massachusetts, I bet you would.  And you'd be pretty grateful when Native Americans showed up on your doorstep holding out those pretty, deep red berries.

The Native American Algonquians, they called them “Sassamanash,” and used them not only for food, but as a medicine to treat arrow wounds as well as a dye for rugs and blankets.

And once the Pilgrims said thanks and brought them to their table of Thanksgiving, they became a permanent fixture of a thankful meal. 

But, the berries not only held a place at their annual celebration. They also made them their own with a brand-new name.  "Craneberries,” the Pilgrims called them, after the vines’ small, pink blossoms that to them, resembled the head and bill of a Sandhill crane.

And today, those cranberries have now become inseparable from Americans’ late November Thanksgiving feast.  So now, that we’re celebrating with cider this holiday season, let's once again say thanks to cranberries and toast them with a very big drink.

But for now, they’re the ones that'll be doing all the drinking, since I started by pouring on all the hard cider my dried cranberries could hold.  And after several hours in the drink, they were fattened up and juicy, and ready to be dropped into my softly cooked apples, along with a dash of maple sugar and a splash of hard cider.

So, let's begin the celebration, for here's a holiday entrée that I guarantee will sure deliver the thanks.  And it's one that gets some sparkle from a special hard cider that was aged in bourbon barrels which were soaked in rum.


Serves 8 – 10

8 – 10 pound cooked half ham (shank end)                            
1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated, preferred)
⅔ cup honey                                                  
½ teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
½ cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)

⅔ cup dried cranberries
6 tablespoons Sea Cider Prohibition, divided
8 apples (Gala or Fuji – peeled, cored, cubed)
½ teaspoon maple sugar

Combine the dried cranberries and 4 tablespoons of the cider in a medium bowl.
Cover and let soak for several hours or overnight.

Once cranberries have soaked, set a saucepan over low heat and add the cubed apples along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Prohibition cider.  Cover and cook until apples are very soft, then mash with a slotted spoon or a potato masher to a coarse consistency.

If your mixture has excess water, return the saucepan to the heat and briefly cook uncovered until the extra liquid evaporates.

Off heat, stir in the soaked cranberries and any remaining soaking liquid.  Cover and set aside.

To prepare the ham, set rack to lower third of oven and preheat to 325°F.

Remove excess fat from ham and place, fat site up in a shallow roasting pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Score top of ham in a crisscross pattern, then bake, uncovered until meat’s internal temperature reaches 115°F.

Brush the honey over the ham, then combine the brown sugar, nutmeg & cinnamon and press this mixture onto the top and sides, coating the ham thoroughly.

Return to oven and bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes until the ham's internal temperature reaches 135°F.  Let the ham rest 10-15 minutes before slicing (its temperature will rise to 140°F).  Reserve the baking liquid to serve as a sauce over the ham.

(If using an uncooked ham, follow all of the directions above except, after applying the honey, cook the ham until its internal temperature reaches 135°F.  Then, once coated with the brown sugar mixture, bake until internal temperature of meat reaches 155°F.  After ham has rested, its temperature will rise to a fully cooked 160°F).

Serve ham accompanied by Apple Cranberry Cidersauce.

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