Fresh Ham - Leg of Pork

Pork - Fresh Ham With Cracklings And Pan Gravy
Adapted from a Gourmet Recipe

1 fresh ham (shank end leg of pork)
Olive for rubbing the ham
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
12 ounces beer (not dark)

For the gravy
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
With a small sharp knife prick the ham skin all over, make 4 parallel
1/2-inch-deep incisions through the skin the entire length of the ham,
and rub the ham lightly with the oil. In a small bowl rub together the
coarse salt, the thyme, the sage, the pepper, and the mustard and rub
the mixture over the entire surface of the ham. Put the ham on a
roasting rack set in a roasting pan and put the pan in a preheated
500°F. oven. Reduce the temperature immediately to 375 °F and roast the
ham for 1 hour. Pour half the beer over the ham, roast the ham for 30
minutes more, and pour the remaining beer over the ham. Roast the ham  
until a meat thermometer registers 170°F.,(the amount of time will
depend on the size of the roast)  and let it cool on the rack in the
pan for 15 minutes. Pull off the brown crisp skin, leaving the layer of
fat on the ham, with scissors cut the skin into small pieces, and
arrange the cracklings in one layer in a baking pan. Sprinkle the
cracklings with salt and bake them in the middle of a preheated 350°F.
oven, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until they are crisp
and browned. Transfer the cracklings to paper towels and let them
drain. Cut the remaining fat from the ham, slice the meat thinly across
the grain, and arrange it on a platter. Keep the ham warm, covered.

Skim off the fat from the juices in the roasting pan, add 1 cup broth
and deglaze the pan over moderate heat, scraping up the brown bits.
Transfer the liquid to a saucepan. In a small bowl whisk together the
flour and 1/4 cup of the broth until the flour is dissolved and whisk
the mixture into the deglazing liquid with the remaining 3/4 cup broth,
the mustard, the sage, the thyme, and pepper to taste, and simmer the
gravy, whisking, for 5 minutes.

Garnish the ham with the cracklings and the watercress sprigs and serve
it with the gravy.

March 1990
Dinner Irish Style