Fresh hams, or whole uncured pork legs or half legs, need to be special ordered from your butcher, but they are great for large parties and guarantee delicious leftovers. Linda Japngie, who creates imaginative Latin American cuisine as chef at New York City's Ixta, slow-roasts them to crispy perfection.
More Latin American Recipes
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons Sofrito
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup achiote (annatto) seeds
2 tablespoons dried oregano
6 large garlic cloves, 4 minced, 2 thinly sliced
One 14-pound bone-in fresh ham from the shank end (half leg), skin removed,
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
2 medium red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 medium green bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup Spanish pimiento-stuffed olives, thickly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
8 bananas, sliced 1/2 inch thick
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup water
How to Make It
In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of the Sofrito with 1 cup of the oil, the wine, achiote seeds, oregano, minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Set the ham in a roasting pan and rub the marinade all over it. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Add 1 inch of water to the roasting pan and roast the ham for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 275° and roast the ham for 5 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 155°.
Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions, red and green bell peppers, olives, 2 tablespoons of the Sofrito and the sliced garlic and cook over moderately low heat until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the bananas and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the ham to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Set the roasting pan over two burners and bring the pan juices to a boil. Add the rum and simmer for 2 minutes. Strain the pan juices into a bowl and skim off the fat. Pour the juices into a medium saucepan. Stir in the water and the remaining 1 cup of Sofrito and boil over moderate heat until reduced by half. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids. Season with salt and pepper. Carve the ham and serve with the rum sauce and the pepper-banana sauté.
The sauté can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently before serving.
A medium-bodied, spicy red with acidity and low tannins, such as Zinfandel or Shiraz.
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