Ancient recipes

Hey, @Medievalist, hell yeah. This is an ancient method of preparing ham, called Ham in Hay.

You brine the ham for 14 days, saute it with clean water to extract excess salt, then braise in alfalfa hay along with peppercorns, nutmeg, cloves, and veg.

Totes channeling the Normans yo.

…oh, you ask why I am doing this on a stove? Well, I haven’t purchased the caldera yet that will sit atop newly built fire pit.


(Yes the toms are new world, but it was ‘use it it compost it’ go time)


Interesting!! Can you taste the hay in the meat? I’ve always loved the smell of alfalfa and timothy hay. Is the ham laying against the pan?

Yep!! And there is timothy hay in there as well.

The origin of the recipe makes total sense. In France and england, when a person wanted to transport hot meat (heh) they obviously didn’t have Coleman coolers. So what do you do?

Pack it in a box with hay to keep it warm.

Like many culinary accidents it turns out the scent of hay with Ham is charming, to say the least. So it turned into a recipe instead of simply transport.


Complete, utter sidebar.

Scottish ales have never, ever had smoke malt in them. Smoked malt went to whiskey. But to this day brewers add peat malt to Scottish wee heavies and the like.

I have figured out why, and the solution.

Every Scottish pub has a peat or coal burning stove, so there is always smoke. That is why the association of wee heavies and peat is so strong-- you always smell peat while having a pint.

My solution? Brew a clean, malty wee heavy with few hops, and serve the pint with a small brazier next to it burning peat/beech/Palo Santo/etc.


Also, any time a a sweet drink or food stuff is served, a lightly oiled cloves apple should be placed near the table over a beees wax candle (again, brazier, don’t want it to burn)

Hey @Medievalist, random question but do you have any photos or books that show old pretzel shapes?

I’m not a ham-eater, but I find this post fascinating!

Okay, stay with me here.

I am thinking about setting it on fire.

Now before you Blame this on me overreacting to external stimuli, have a kolache and settle down.

The biggest problem with basically steaming a 12 lbs piece of protein is there is little to no ‘crust’. So it occurred to me that fat soaked hay, perhaps in a Griswald cast iron vessel outside would make for a fine accelerant to toast up the edges.


There’s a recipe in the wonderful Complete Nose to Tail by Fergus Henderson for Ham in Hay.

It’s essentially this: Cover a ham in a hay nest,sprinkle with juniper berries, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaves, cover it with water, and boil for 4 hours. Serve with swede mash made with duck fat.

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And a swede?

Or is it referring to this?

Here in the US, we call them rutabagas, but they’re swedes in the UK. I had to wonder about how weird it’d be for a British person to watch Be Kind Rewind and keep hearing about vegetable versions of movies.

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In the North-East, we just call them turnips. We call turnips turnips as well, just to confuse folk. It can lead to arguments akin to ‘which way round should the bog-roll go?’ (over and down the front, obviously, but you always get contrarians).


Apple oiled, then cloves; apple cloved, then oiled; or cloves oiled, then appled?

We expect a full video of the experiment.

No, I’m not kidding!


That’s it…that’s what was missing from @japhroaig’s original recipe.

Alas I am fresh out. And it is a shame since I just visited my father in law, and his property is covered in juniper. I just never even thought.

Fergus? The guy with the book that has a forward written by tony bourdain, looks like an owl, has the writing style of a crazed 19th century aristo, and advocates the consumption of pig tails fried in goose fat served with mustard?

Never heard of him. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :smile:
(God I love that guy, he is a UK national treasure)

I swear that should be on my tombstone.


(clears throat)
(sprints away)