It’s heartening to observe the recent trend of repurposing old goods into workable, worthwhile objects of value and especially so, if you were the one responsible for the transformation. We have had the pleasure of watching Kirstie pick up furniture orphans from junk yards and resourcefully transform them into prized family members on her weekly program. Clothing, toys and linens have all been fair game for the passionate upcycler, with vintage and charity shopping now a popular pastime. So after a beautifully baked leg of ham had served its dinnertime purpose, but still boasted a plentiful supply of succulent meat to carve, it was time for some upcycling in our kitchen.
Being well out of the festive season, purchasing a leg of ham is very affordable – in fact quite a canny choice. Simple to prepare and quick to bake, this is an overlooked roasted ‘joint’ with the potential to be so many other meals.
When you bring your ham home, carefully run the knife around the narrow end and gently work off the outer skin, leaving the fat underneath in place. Once the skin is peeled away, score the fat in a cross-hatch fashion. Warm a small jar of marmalade and brush this over the ham generously. Poke a whole clove into the centre of each diamond shape. Sit your decorated leg in a large baking tray and bake in a moderate oven (ie 180 degrees celsius) for 45 minutes or until it is nicely browned. Your ham is ready to carve.
My carnivorous family barely makes a dent on a baked ham in one sitting, so throughout the week rolls are filled, grills are served and finally I unwrap a calico covered shape that begins to resemble a bone. Still well covered, this joint is upcycled once again – pea and ham soup.
A plentiful soup can be produced by plonking the bone holus-bolus into the pot and using this recipe (which I discovered on the back of my McKenzie’s Green Split Peas packet). Put your ham bone in, follow McKenzie’s steps and lunch/after school feeding frenzies are covered for the rest of the week.
As your ham leg makes its way through all of its various mealtime identities, it can be stored very effectively in the refrigerator in a calico ham bag. No ham bag? No problem – because you too are a resourceful upcycler, a dampened tea towel repurposes wonderfully.
Postscript: and just when you thought the upcycling was complete, the long simmered soup bone, after cooling on the bench, became a happy dog’s chew on a sunny afternoon.