Julskinkan – the centerpiece of the Swedish julbord Posted by on Dec 8, 2011 in Culture, Uncategorized, Vocabulary

Warning: If you don’t like the look of meat being prepared, you should probably stop reading now!

I assume all you fellow Sweden lovers are familiar with our buffet style habit of eating. Our beloved smörgåsbord comes out at Easter, at Midsummer’s eve and most importantly – at Christmas. This time of the year, our julbord (Christmas table) is packed with köttbullar (meatballs), inlnagd sill (pickled herring), rökt och gravad lax (smoked and gravadlax), rödbetssallad (beetroot sallad), korv (sausages)… and most importantly, the ham. Julskinka. I think it’s safe to say that most of the non vegetarian julbord will have a piece of ham in the middle of the table and for most people (me!) this is definitely the most important part of the Christmas eating. It’s an ancient tradition to cook and eat ham in Sweden around Christmas and almost 7 000 tonnes are being sold every year. It’s best served with mustard, on a piece of knäckebröd (crisp bread) with a dollop of beetroot salad on the side – and this is exactly what I will stuff my face with tonight. My very own Christmas ham is calling me from the kitchen and this is how I did it:

1. A cured oncooked ham joint is left to soak in water over night to remove some of the salt from the curing. Is it just me or does this joint look like a pig’s face? Which I can assure you, it’s not…

2. Put it in a pot with carrots, a stick of celery, an onion, a few cloves and juniper berries. Cover it with water and then leave it to simmer until the internal temperature reaches 75 degrees C  (170 F). This takes about 20 minutes per 450 grams (1 lb).

3. Allow it to cool in the broth, take it out and put it in a rosting tin. Peel off the skin, leaving the fat underneath which can be scored into diamonds.  Spread the scored fat with a mix of egg and mustard and then sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of it. Put it in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the crumbs have got a nice colour.

4. Let it cool and then – eat!

PS: This is obviously just my personal take on it and in no way the “correct” way of doing it. Have you got another way – please share!

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