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Braised-then-Baked Ham

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This recipe by Julia Child for cooking a whole ham was featured in a New York Times article by Julia Moskin, exploring the predicament of making a flavorful Easter ham. The secret is to braise the meat in wine & water to finish, before roasting in a hot oven to crisp it up. The end result is a ham perfectly glazed with mustard, brown sugar, and finally crusted with golden bread crumbs. Keep in mind, this recipe is for a cured ham, not a fresh one.


  • 1 cooked, bone-in “city ham,” either a whole or half, 8-12 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup carrots (sliced)
  • 1 cup onions (sliced)
  • Herb bundle of 12 parsley sprigs, 6 thyme sprigs, 12 peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 3 cloves. Tie together in a cheesecloth
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • Glaze, optional


  1. If the ham is particularly tough skinned, cut it off to expose its fat.
  2. Heat the butter or oil over a medium-high heat in a large, deep pot. Add the carrots, onions, and sauté until tender & golden brown (approx. 10 minutes).
  3. Place the ham on top of the vegetables, with the fatty side up. After adding the herb bundle, wine, and 1 quart water, bring to a summer.
  4. At a bare simmer, cook for 2-3 hours, basting with a ladle every 20 minutes. After 2 hours, test the ham with a meat thermometer – ham is ready when the internal temp reaches 135. Upon reaching 235 degrees, turn off the heat.
  5. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Drain the ham, making sure to reserve the cooking liquid (can be used as a stock, and freezes well). Place ham on a rack on a roasting pan, fat side up. Score the fat in a diamond pattern with a sharpened knife tip. If opting to glaze, brush the glaze on now.
  6. Place ham in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. If you opted for the glaze, brush more on after the first 10 minutes of cooking.
  7. Pull out of oven, tent with foil and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes prior to carving.