Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spiral Sliced Ham Steam Roasted in the Pressure Cooker

When I tell people about how quick and easy it is to cook all kinds of foods in today's modern pressure cookers, a ham -- gammon to my friends across the sea -- is probably not something they've ever thought about, and certainly not a spiral cut ham. Those who have tried to pressure cook a ham, most likely drowned it in water, boiled it to death, and then proudly served that rubbery ham at dinner. Eeek!

Let me show you a better way

The Steam Roasting method is an excellent way to cook meats in the dry, superheated steam of the modern pressure cooker with their precision pressure valves. Yes, I said 'dry'. When foods are elevated above a minimum amount of water, the steam is actually very dry so the surface of the food stays drier too. The meat looks more like it was cooked in the oven when you Steam Roast rather than boiling it.

For this recipe I'm using a 4lb. fully cooked spiral cut ham, this cut of ham that is very popular and readily available in every supermarket. The directions say to cook in the oven for 18 minutes per pound at 325°F., or about 1 hour and 12 minutes, but by using the pressure cooker, I'm going to cut that down to -- wait for it! -- just 14 minutes! Why, you ask in amazement... how is this miracle possible?

Well, it really very simple. If you look closely at any spiral cut ham, you'll see that it's not a solid piece of meat like a whole ham, but just a stack of thin slices of ham that are barely held together by a minimal attachment to the hambone. So essentially, we are only cooking a bunch of thin ham slices until they are heated all the way through to the bone in the middle... minutes, yes?

Place the ham cut side down in a steamer basket to make it easier to lift it out of the cooker. Most pressure cookers come with such accessories, but if you don't have one, then just use the foil Helper Handles under the ham instead.

I brushed on a little sweet/hot mustard over the surface of my ham to help keep the edges moist. Try some natural fruit preserves made without added sugar -- blackberry mixed with hot mustard is really good -- but any sort of glaze adds a nice flavor and appearance. If you like to use jams, honey, maple syrup or molasses, remember that the heat will just make the sugars melt and run off. The trick then, is to wait until the ham comes out of the pressure cooker and then brush on your sugary glazes and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes. This way you you can keep basting as the sugars caramelize.

Ready for more?

Look... You can see how moist my ham is on the inside. The meat is not over cooked or dried out, and its not rubbery or waterlogged from being boiled. With Steam Roasting, much of the excess grease melts off too, so there's another plus.

Watch your timing with spiral cut hams and don't overcook them or the edges of every slice will curl and become dried out and tough. If that happens, just trim away the dried out edges, but save them in the freezer. All those bits you might trash will come in handy for later use in soups where they will become tender and succulent and oh-so-yummy! 

Be sure to save all the remaining broth too. Refrigerate it overnight to make it easier to remove the solid layer of fat, then package for the freezer for later use in beans and soups. Do the same with the ham bone, all the scraps, and the leftover bits and pieces that you would probably just throw out in the garbage anyway... that's free stock makings!

Your grandma knew how to use that trick to cut costs, and next time I'll show you how to re-cycle all those inedible scraps to make a delicious and flavorful 'FREE' ham broth for just a few pennies worth of herbs and seasoning. Use that scrumptious broth in your next bean soup -- or in many of the other soup and bean recipes you'll find right here on my blog, or in my cookbook.   


This is the most ridiculously easy recipe ever! It's so simple you'll want to cook hams all the time. Plan on a lovely dinner with lots possibilities for leftover meals like Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, (p-299 of my cookbook, Miss Vickie's Big Book of Pressure Cooker Recipes), or sandwiches, and don't forget breakfast too!

4 pounds fully cooked spiral sliced ham
1/4 cup hot honey mustard

Place the cooking rack in the bottom of the pressure cooker and pour in 2/3 cup water. Use a basting brush to apply the mustard evenly over the surface of the ham. Place the ham in a steamer tray or use foil Helper Handles under the ham to place the ham on the rack. Lock the lid in place. Bring to 15psi over high heat, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that pressure. Cook 14 minutes. Remove from heat and use the natural release method before opening the lid. Cut the slices away from the bone and serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

To cook a whole ham, or any other cuts of ham, see the Cooking Time Charts for the basic directions.



Joy said...

Great post!
My pressure cooked is still not fixed, I must write in big letters on my planner to follow up a couple more leads. I miss it SO much!

limo hire said...

Lovely one ..and i can't do better than you.

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