Country Ham Stuffed with Greens

Average: 3.5 (2 votes)
6 hours 20 Servings Print RecipeEmail Recipe


1 country ham (12 to 16 pounds)
1⁄4cupscallions (finely chopped – include 2 inches of the green tops)
1⁄2cupcelery (finely chopped)
1⁄2poundfresh mustard greens (trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped – about 4 cups)
1⁄2poundfresh spinach (trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped – about 4 cups)
1teaspoondried hot red pepper (crushed)
  ground black pepper


Starting a day ahead, place the ham in a pot large enough to hold it comfortably and pour in enough cold water to cover the ham by at least 1 inch. Let the ham soak at room temperature for at least 12 hours.

When you are ready to cook the ham drain off the soaking water and replace it with fresh cold water to cover the ham by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the ham partially covered for 1 hour. Transfer the ham to cool on a large platter or cutting board. Discard the cooking liquid, wash the pot and set it aside.

With a large sharp knife cut the rind off the ham and discard it. Then remove the excess fat from the entire outside surface of the ham, leaving a layer no more than 1/8 inch thick all around. Set the ham aside.

In a heavy 4 to 5 quart saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam begins to subside, add the scallions and celery and, stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes until they are soft and transparent but not brown. Stir in the mustard greens, spinach, red pepper, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, cover the pan tightly, and cook for 15 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.

Makes 6 to 8 deep incisions in the ham each about 2 inches long and spaced about 2 inches apart. Holding the incisions apart with a spoon, fill them evenly with the greens. Wrap the stuffed ham and a double thickness of cheesecloth. Sew up the ends of the cheesecloth with kitchen cord.

Return pan to the original pot and add enough water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 3 to 4 hours, allowing about 15 minutes to the pound, or until the ham is tender and shows no resistance when pierced deeply with the point of a small skewer or sharp knife. (The ham should be kept constantly immersed in water. Check the pot from time to time add more boiling water if necessary.) The cooking liquid can be saved, if you like, for cooking greens.

Transfer the ham to a large platter and, without removing the cheesecloth, cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Just before serving, unwrapped the ham and with a large sharp knife, carve it into paper thin slices to serve.


Preparation time does not include soaking or chilling.

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