Ham, Cabbage and Potatoes

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Ham, cabbage and potatoes is one the definitive Irish comfort dishes. For me it evokes memories of cold wet days where you are safe inside and dry. And believe me there are plenty of days in Ireland when you are indoors looking out the window at the miserable weather. Everyone from my grandparents to my own parents have cooked this dish for me on numerous occasions. I remember walking into my Grannies kitchen and seeing the steam fill the room and the windows dripping with condensation. The smell of boiling cabbage would  fill the air. This smell is not for everyone, for me it acts as an indication that grubs on the way and the ham is almost done. To this day when I smell ham and cabbage boiling I am immediately reminded of the countryside and my Grannies small kitchen in Ballyporeen, South Tipperary. Food memories are so powerful that they can remind you in detail of the most positive and negative times of our past. This is our take on this dish with a few little additions. I don’t think my Grannie knew what star anise was when she made this for us but it is a stand out addition to this pot.

1 Large Ham
1 chicken stock cube
2 bay leaves
10 whole cloves
4 star anise
2 tsp ginger powder
2 tbsp mixed spice
10 pink peppercorns
2 tsp Maldon sea salt
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp crab apple jelly
1 tbsp honey
1 Savoy cabbage
5 large potatoes
50g unsalted butter
Salt & Pepper to season

Put ham in large pot and add enough water to cover the ham. Now crumble in chicken stock to the pot followed by cloves, star anise, ginger, mixed spice, pink peppercorns, salt, mustard, apple jelly and honey. Chop up your Savoy cabbage leaves and add to the pot, place on lid. Reduce heat to a medium heat and leave to cook for approx 3 hrs depending on the size of your ham, my ham weighed just under 9lbs, we had big piggies remember. The rule of thumb is to allow 20 minutes of cooking time per 450g / 1lb. Once ham is cooked leave it soaking in the liquid for approx 30 mins. This allows the flavours an extra chance to fully penetrate the meat without the intense heat. Now put your potatoes in a pot of water and bring to boil until cooked through. Once potatoes are finished its time to remove your ham and slice up. Remove cabbage from pot and be sure to take away any cloves, star anise, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add 20g butter to your cabbage along with a pinch of Maldon cracked sea salt. Serve up with buttered potatoes and Enjoy.

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