The ham is always the star of the Noche Buena table. The ultimate symbol of the Christmas season, it is a great celebration dish also for Christmas Day. It goes well with bread as well as with rice. Leftover ham is also perfect for Ham and Cheese Omelette, Hawaiian Pizza, and Ensaymada with Ham, among others. While this season seems to bring an oversupply of commercial holiday hams—from premium, honey-glazed, uncured, and Chinese, to name a few—all you have to do is choose which ham suits your taste.
But of course, making your own ham for family and friends to enjoy makes the Christmas meal even more special.
Here’s an easy way to make and enjoy pineapple ham, as prepared by my sister Susana Dy following a recipe by Chef Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou.
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 tsp. pink salt or Prague powder
3/4 to 1 kg. pork kasim
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup brown sugar
2 pcs. laurel leaves
2-3 pcs. cloves
2 Tbsps. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar, water and pink salt. Mix well.
2. Add pork kasim, rolling it on all sides to make sure it is completely covered with the mixture. Marinate overnight in the mixture.
3. When ready to cook, drain off marinade and squeeze out excess moisture.
4. In a wok or pot, combine pineapple juice, brown sugar, laurel leaves, cloves, 2 Tbsps. sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix well.
5. Add pork kasim, and let boil. When boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook until pork is tender and sauce is thick.
6. Slice and arrange on a platter.
7. Drizzle sauce over ham slices.
8. Finish in the oven or microwave oven.