The Easter Ham is a traditional Austrian dish eaten on the Sunday after Lent. Austrians like it best if the lean, cooked ham is served warm and thinly sliced. The Easter Ham is an established part of Easter due to its aromatic flavour and crispy outer bread layer!
- 1 onion (thickly cut)
- 1 carrot (thickly cut)
- 1 turnip (yellow, thickly cut)
- 100 g celery (thickly cut)
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 pepper corns
- 5 allspice kernels
- herb stems (according to taste and preference)
- 1 kg salted and smoked meat (smoked pork (shoulder), cooked)
For the bread dough:
- 20 g yeast
- 350 ml water (luke-warm)
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 300 g wholemeal flour
- 200 g flour (fine grained, soft)
- oil or water (as required)
- egg yolks (or whites whisked with a little milk for brushing)
- flour (for rolling)
Directions for Easter Ham
- Chop vegetables into chunky pieces and bring to the boil with seasoning and herb stems in approx. 4 litres of water. Add meat and cook for approx. 1 hour until soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Crumble the yeast and mix with the luke-warm water and salt. Add both flours and knead to a smooth dough. Add oil or water depending on the consistency.
- Roll the dough into a ball shape, place in a bowl, cover and leave to stand in a warm place for at least 1 hour. Depending on preference, you can roll it up again and leave to stand for a bit longer – this will make the bread more finely-pored – or knead further.
- Flour the work surface and roll the dough out so it is approx. 2 cm thick. Place the dry meat in the centre and wrap the dough firmly around it.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the meat, seam downwards, on the tray. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees/ 400 °F for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180 degrees/ 350 °F and cook for a further 30 minutes.
GOES WELL WITH Cold Chive or wild Garlic Sauce and potatoes.
The Easter Ham does, of course also taste delicious without the crispy bread layer. Any leftover ham can be served as a snack with freshly grated horseradish. Leftover bread dough can also be used – enhance with bread seasoning and nuts and knead into small bread rolls. Leave to stand for a while and bake at 220 degrees/ 425 °F for 20 minutes.
The traditional Osterjause (Easter snack of bread, meats and cheeses) marked the end of the 40-day fast and is celebrated as a special festive meal. The Easter basket of goodies, which is carried to the church where the food is blessed, includes eggs as well as the Easter Ham. It also includes the Easter lamb joint, butter, salt and horseradish. The blessed food is eaten after the mass. An ancient superstition says you shouldn’t eat anything before this as the blessing then has a greater effect although this may originate from the ancient rule that communion should only be taken on an empty stomach.