So for the kickoff of Noblegarden, my friend and fellow Knight Initiate with the Argents,
Denarys Deneres Denarus Senechal (swear to Light, humans have hard names) invited me to join his family for their traditional wild boar and egg hunt.
I’ve never hunted a wild boar before, and there’s an art to it. An art I don’t really understand. It consists of some very fast, very strong horses that take their job very seriously, dogs in armor, and a very pissed off boar. To be fair, from past experience, ‘pissed off’ is the default for wild boars, and the moment you’re in their territory, one of you is going to become dinner. We just decided to make them dinner first.
It was intense. It completely rattled my initial image of these prim, proper nobles who stand with their backs so straight and their head angled in such a way that they seem to be peering down the bridge of their nose. His mother’s hands were so soft as she kept insisting on clasping mine. I thought the rest of them was soft too.
But oh no. Oh man. No. The moment there is danger, that softness gives way to an intensity that is beyond my ability to put them into words. They are graceful, powerful. Lethal. And I am very glad that they’re on my side.
Afterwards, while the meat was curing, we enjoyed a lot of his family’s mead and hunted for eggs. Those at least, didn’t fight back.
Good times all around. I don’t always do well with big groups, so it was refreshing to get to slip into the kitchen with their personal chefs to help them prepare this ham. Trust me, the hardest part was killing the thing.
Ok let’s do this! Cast of characters! This sucker is so easy and SO delicious. Save the bone from it, we’ll be using it later. You need one cured, smoked or otherwise fully cooked ham shank. This sucker was 12 lbs. This recipe will work for any size all the way down to 7 lbs. If you get a bigger one, maybe double it.
You also need 2 1/2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 Tbsp of dijon mustard, and about 1/2 cup of brown sugar.
Throw all the ingredients that did not come from a pig together in a bowl and mix it up until it’s a smooth liquid. Now on to Mr Tuskers.
In order to get the glaze deep into the meat and get a really good caramelization going, you want to cut a diamond shape pattern about half an inch into the flesh. Start by making diagonal cuts… huh… ‘diagonal’ …’diamond’… …I wonder if ‘dia’ means something… moving on.
First cut on one side like shown above.
And then repeat going the other direction until you get these nice diamond shapes. They’ll help get the glaze nice and… glazey… I guess. I may have had too much mead.
If you get too enthusiastic, that’s okay. Because now it sorta resembles a kodo hoof! That’s fun right? …Right??
On a roaster rack, put the meat big cut side down. It’s at about this point that I realized that this was the thigh of a giant boar. And then I started wondering just how different a boar leg was from a human leg. Or an elf leg. And how would we know that this wasn’t just like, a chonky ogre or something??
Marianna, the senior cook, reminded me that this came from the wild boar I myself had helped slay. So. So I’m gonna assume no shenanigans.
Preheat the oven to 325F/165C and slide it on in there. You want to cook it for about 50-55 minutes before we start glazing.
It’s starting to smell amazing on its own at this point. But take the glaze you made earlier, and brush it down on all sides.
Use about a third of the glaze, we want to be able to do this three times. Put it back in for 10-15 minutes. Since my ham was huge, I went for 15 at a stretch.
Second basting. Still looks like a kodo foot.
After you’ve used up all your glaze and it’s nice and sticky sweet, take it out and let it rest on a platter lined with green shit. Remember what we said during Pilgrim’s Bounty? You can make ANYTHING fancy with green shit.
Fel yeah look at that beauty. And of course, we couldn’t let those lovely eggs go to waste.
If there’s interest, I’ll make a recipe for the eggs at some point too. Leave a comment below! I love comments.
- One ham, preferably bone in but not necessary. This one was 11 lb, it will work with most sizes. Double if needed
- 1.5 cups brown sugar
- 1.5 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 2.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 325F/165C
- Combine all non-pig derived ingredients in a bowl until smooth
- Slice diamonds into the pig shank about half an inch deep. It’s not super critical how deep, don’t go deeper than say… your first pinky knuckle. That’s general enough.
- In a roasting tray big cut side down, roast for about 50-55 minutes.
- Brush with one third of the glaze, bake another 10-15
- Repeat three times, until glaze is done
- Remove to rest
- Put on green shit
- Drink more mead
Happy Noblegarden everyone! I love you all!