This recipe is used with permission and courtesy of Virginia Willis, cookbook
author, and her website,
Virginia Willis Culinary Productions.
Recipe from Virginia's cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y'all: Recipes, and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking.
Virginia says, "Mama and
I now share the cooking at the holidays. I usually prepare the main courses,
we share the side dishes, and she prepares the desserts. This ham is an
Easter favorite. You may be surprised to see lavender listed as an ingredient in this herb crust. Although very commonly
found in desserts, lavender—especially sweet English lavender—is an
incredibly versatile herb for savory cooking. Be sure to use only
pesticide-free, food-grade leaves and blossoms from an organic farmer’s
market or online; lavender from florists, spas, or home décor shops are
probably not appropriate to eat. The key to cooking with lavender is to
start out with a small amount of flowers, and add more as you go. A little
amount of the sweet, perfumed herb is wonderful, but adding too much
lavender to your recipe is much like eating a bar of soap. A little goes a
Lavender is an incredibly
versatile herb for cooking. As a member of the same family as many of our most popular herbs, it is not
surprising that lavender is edible and that its use in food preparation
is also returning. Flowers and leaves can be used fresh, and both buds
and stems can be used dried. Lavender is a member of the mint family and
is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. Learn more about
Ham 101 to learn all about cooking hams and more great
Ham and Pork Recipes.
Herb-Crusted Fresh Ham Recipe
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 2 hr
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried untreated lavender flowers (culinary
Half of a fresh bone-in
ham (6 to 8 pounds), preferably shank end, with skin
Coarse salt and freshly-ground
Chicken stock or low-fat reduced-sodium chicken broth (approximately 2 cups)
In a small
bowl, combine the thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and culinary lavender. Season the ham
with salt and pepper. Rub the herb mixture all over the ham and set aside to
marinate and come to room temperature, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
the herb-crusted ham in a large roasting pan. Bake approximately 25 minutes
per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 150°F on an
meat thermometer inserted near the bone, approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from the oven and transfer
the ham to a wire rack. Tent the ham loosely with aluminum foil and let stand until the
center of the ham registers 155° to 160°F on the instant-read thermometer, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers
asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the
Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. Originally designed for professional users, the
Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. To learn more about this excellent
thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined:
Meanwhile, to make the Au Just Sauce, pour
the pan drippings into a fat separator; remove and discard the fat. Transfer
the drippings into a small saucepan to make the au jus. Add the chicken stock
and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium to keep warm
until serving. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Making Au Jus is more of a technique and not a recipe. You will have to do this by feel or guess work. It depends on how much
juice is left in your pan (plus the juice from slicing the ham), and how many people you will be serving. Add your
chicken stock and/or wine according to how much Au Jus you think you will need for each person being served. I wish I could give
you exact directions, but it is impossible to have an exact recipe for this.
Once the ham has rested, transfer
to a cutting board and carve; add accumulated carving juices to the Au Jus Sauc. Arrange the meat on a warmed
serving platter and serve with the Au Jus on the side.
Serves 6 to 8.