How to make it

  • Note: Because the ham is so rich and salty, it is usually served with poultry (a roasted turkey is perfect) and an assortment of vegetables. Greens simmered in a bit of broth from the ham are a must. This stuffing can also be prepared with kale, collards, or any available winter greens.
  • 1. Remove cheesecloth casing and scrub mold and excess black pepper from ham's surface. Place ham in a large stockpot, cover with water, and soak for 12 hours, changing water at least once, twice if possible.
  • 2. Drain ham and cover with fresh water. Bring water to boil over medium-high heat; simmer, adding hot water as necessary to keep ham covered, until it softens, about 2 hours. Remove ham from pot and cool to room temperature, reserving ham broth.
  • 3. Clean outside of cooled ham, wiping off excess black pepper that has been loosened during simmering. Use a sharp knife to remove excess fat from around outside of ham, reserving 1 tablespoon of fat.
  • 4. Meanwhile, for the stuffing, bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Add salt, then gradually stir in grits. Simmer, stirring frequently, until grits start to thicken, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  • 5. Heat 1/4 cup of reserved ham broth in a large nonreactive soup kettle. Add greens and spinach, cover and cook over high heat until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain for 15 minutes. Squeeze excess moisture from greens and chop fine. Add greens to bowl with grits.
  • 6. Heat reserved fat in a large skillet; sauté onions until softened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, celery, red pepper, and scallions; sauté until softened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Add sautéed vegetables to bowl with greens and grits. Stir in next 4 ingredients.
  • 7. Cover top of ham with a series of parallel cuts down to the bone. Cuts (about 12 in all) should be about 3 inches long and about 1 inch apart; to ensure that each slice of ham contains some stuffing, stagger cuts so they are not in even rows. Use fingers to open slits and fill generously with stuffing.
  • 8. Place 2 doubled pieces of cheesecloth each measuring 2 feet acress and 3 feet long, on top of each other. Place ham near top of chesecloth and tightly roll cheesecloth around ham. Twist ends of cheesecloth and tie tightly with butcher's twine or thick string in a double knot to prevent cheesecloth from unwrapping.
  • 9. Return wrapped ham to pot containing reserved ham broth. Bring ham to a boil; simmer until ham is tender, 2 to 3 hours. (Total simmering time before and after stuffing is about 20 minutes per pound.) Turn off heat and allow ham to rest in broth for 1 hour. Remove ham from borth, unwrap, and refrigerate overnight or up to 1 week. Reserve defatted ham broth for future use.
  • 10. For the Glaze: Heat the over to 375 degrees. Mix brown sugar, honey mustard, and water in a small saucepan; simmer gently, stirring frequently, until sugar melts, about 5 minutes. Brush chilled ham with glaze and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Cool ham to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least two hours (or overnight) before serving.
  • 11. When ready to serve, begin at hock end and make thin slices perpendicular to bone. Serve ham with biscuits, freshly cooked greens, and spiced peaches (see related recipe).

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