Tuesday 11 November 2014

Beggars' Ham.

Beggars' Ham?

In memory of Toby, David Harry Courtney, I'd like to call this Toby's Beggars' Ham. Now I'll have to make Toby's Mango Chutney.

I'm not really sure what this recipe is called, but after a conversation with Steve, about Beggars'Chicken, (which is a fresh chicken wrapped in Bread Dough & baked), Stephen told me about his Dad, Toby cooking Leg Hams in the Bakery Ovens at Christmas. Some were wrapped in brown paper & other Leg Hams were wrapped in bread dough. 

Before I confuse you all, Toby, Steve's dad was a butcher & his grandfather, Nonno to us, but Ono Bono  to his friends, was a baker. The Masotti  Brothers owned a bakery together, at the site in Ayr North Queensland where Coles Supermarket is now situated, at the corner of Queen & Munro Streets. That wasn't their first bakery, previously during World War 2, they owned a bakery in Feluga near Ingham. The head master helped them avoid the internment camps at the time by telling them to offer their delivery van as an ambulance to help toward the war effort when the Americans were stationed in the area. After the war the family, 2 brothers, their wives & 2 children each, set of in their van to Sydney to live. Not liking the big city, they returned to Ayr North  Queensland, establishing their bakery.
Now the bakery I mentioned where they cooked the Christmas Hams wrapped in Dough, was a bakery that the Crowdeys' & Masottis' Bakeries bought & shut down. 
Stephen described the old brick oven, deisel powered, how they'd fire them up for a period of time, then when the bricks were glowing hot, they'd turn off the deisel & put the hams in the oven to cook. Steve was amazed how the brown paper some hams were wrapped in didn't burn.
Steve also regales his many memories, of his youth, in the bakery. When the bread was being baked, they would seal up the oven doors with bread dough, which would cook up very crispy,  they'd get to take these crunchy crusts off & eat them. 

The conversation lead me to try the old recipe with pickled Pork, Stephen bones out legs of Pork (only Sows, the boar meat is has a rank odour). He mixes Courtney's Special Brine up & pumps it into the pork. It sits in the brine for some time, then its ready for the Customers.

The cooking instructions to cook Courtney's Pickled Pork.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the Pickled Pork in a covered baking dish.
  3. Rub garlic, crushed peppercorns & drizzle honey over Pork.
  4. Add some water to the bottom of dish, about a cm.
  5. Cover & place dish in the oven & cook according to size. 1 hour per kg. 
  6. When the meat is cooked, take it out & let it cool. Make up your bread dough, ready to wrap pork in & bake again.

You can alter the spices & boiling the pickled pork is the most common method of cooking it.

Ingredients for bread dough:

3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons of yeast
400 ml of  warm/tepid water
Double or triple the bread dough, depending on the size of your Pickled pork or Ham

Step 1. place flour in dish & add yeast
Step 2. add water to flour & mix in.
Step 3. Using hands turn the dough over on itself, mixing in all the loose flour. kneading it for 5 minutes .
Step 4. Let it sit until pork is cooled.

Last steps of the dish. 
Step 1. Stretch or roll out the dough. 
Step 2. Cut the netting of the meat & add a bit more honey to the top of roast for extra flavour.
Step 3. Place the meat upside down on dough & fold the dough over pork. 
Step 4. Spray an oven tray with oil or rub with butter & place pork wrapped in dough with the folded seams facing down. Baste the dough either milk or the jus from the cooked pork. I sprinkled crushed salt also. 

The Jus dribbled over meat before its wrapped in dough adds to the flavour in the dough.

Step 5. Place the tray into the oven at 180C & bake until golden brown.

Step 6. Remove from oven, I cooked mine for about 30mins then turned the oven down & cooked for another 5 min. Check the oven regularly so as not to burn dough.

Slice the loaf & serve with salad or vegetables. I used carrots sliced thinly, boiling until tender, removed from the water then added a little honey.
I cut the asparagus ends off about 2cm long, leaving the tender tips (I left them long), I put the tougher ends in water first to boil, then added tender tips. Removing from water I added a dob of butter.
Then braising the thicker strips of chinese cabbage, adding the soft leaf for a minute. You can make apple sauce or use some from a jar. I kept some of the jus from the cooked pickled pork. 

The ends of the crust can be broken up to use like a crackling. Very Yummy! The pork was very juicy & tender, A treat worth trying!