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Chile-Brined Fresh Ham

• 4 cups kosher salt
• 2 cups sugar
• 6 quarts cold water
• 1 cup black peppercorns, crushed
• 5 ounces Thai or serrano chillies, stemmed and finely chopped
• 8 big cloves
• 4 cups ice cubes
• One 18-pound, bone-in fresh ham, with skin
• 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

How to make It

Step 1
In a large cooking pan, mix the salt and sugar with two quarts of the water. Bring to a boil moderately high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine into a very large pot. Stir in the peppercorns, chillies and cloves. Add the remaining four quarts of water and the ice and stir till the ice has melted and the brine is at room temperature. Add the ham, skin side up; the skin doesn’t need to be submerged. Brine the ham in the refrigerator for twenty-four hours.

Step 2
Preheat the oven to 400°. Take away the ham from the brine and brush aside the peppercorns and cloves. Set the ham skin side up in a cooking pan and let stand for half-hour at room temperature.

Step 3
Roast the ham for one hour; flip the pan and add one cup of water halfway through. Reduce the oven to 300° and roast the ham for 2 1/2 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 150°. Transfer the ham to a carving board and let rest for half-hour.

Step 4
Strain the pan juices into a saucepan; skim off the fat. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cut the skin off of the ham and break it into pieces. Thinly slice the meat and serve with the jus and crisp skin.

Advised pairing

though this may appear like a red-wine dish, this ham tastes great with a full-bodied white, like Chenin Blanc, which frequently has a slight edge of sweetness that makes it a decent match for lightly spicy foods.
Chile-Brined Fresh Ham

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