Swedish Christmas Ham (Julskinka)

Total Time
316hrs
Prep 312 hrs
Cook 4 hrs

This is the traditional way to make a ham for the smorgasbord served on Christmas Eve in Sweden. I grew up eating this wonderful dish, and look forward to it ever year. It's really an investment of time- yes, it takes two weeks to make. But, most of that is hands-off; and the result is well worth it. This recipe was written before commercial refrigeration was available, and I'm posting it the old fashioned way. If you have room in your fridge to keep a 10-12 pound ham for two weeks- be my guest. I just put it in my unheated (and VERY cool) laundry room to cure and brine. I do, of course, refrigerate the leftovers.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Combine 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon of saltpeter. Massage this mixture all over the ham, coating the entire surface well.
  2. Place the ham in a food-safe container large enough to hold it, cover, and place in a very cool place for 3 days turning occasionally. (In the old days, a wooden or stone container would be used; I use a large bucket lined with an extra large zip top bag.).
  3. On the third day, bring the water to a boil, add the salt, sugar and saltpeter. Once the salt has dissolved, remove from the heat and cool.
  4. Pour the brine over the ham- it should be completely covered.
  5. ***If you don't have enough to cover, make more brine, using 1/2 cup salt and 1 tablespoon sugar for each quart of water. The amount you need will vary depending on the size of the ham and the size of the container you use.
  6. Cover the container, put it in a cool place, and leave for 10 days.
  7. After it has sat for 10 days, remove from the brine, and wipe well.
  8. Place fat side up in a pot of boiling water, covering the ham completely.
  9. Bring the water back to a boil, add the bay leaves, peppercorns and allspice berries, and cover.
  10. Simmer for 3 hours, or until tender.
  11. Remove from the cooking pot and take off the skin. Using a cloth, wipe off all of the loose fat. Place back in the water, and let cool.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  13. Combine the egg white, mustard powder and sugar.
  14. Remove the ham from the water, pat dry, and coat with the egg white mixture.
  15. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs, patting them to ensure they stick to the egg coating.
  16. Place in the oven, and let bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
  17. Let cool completely, and slice to serve.