Ham shank is a flavorful, juicy, and tender part of the pig’s leg that can be cooked in a variety of ways. From baked ham shank to slow-cooked ham soup, there are a lot of delicious recipes you can try out with this piece of meat. In this article, we will cover some of the most popular ham shank recipes, and share some tips and tricks to help you master the art of cooking ham shank. If you’re a fan of pork, you don’t want to miss this!
What is Ham Shank
Ham shank is a portion of a pig’s leg, including a portion of the thigh bone, that is commonly used to make savory and hearty dishes. The shank is the lower part of the leg that is cut just above the ankle and below the knee. Ham shanks can be found smoked or cured, and usually come with the skin still on, making it more flavorful when cooked.
Types of Ham Shank
There are two types of ham shank: the fresh or uncured shank and the cured shank. The fresh shank is uncooked and has not been preserved, while the cured shank has been treated with salt, sugar, and/or other seasonings to increase its shelf life and produce a distinct flavor.
- The fresh ham shank is versatile and can be prepared in various ways, including roasting, braising, or simmering in a soup or stew. It is leaner than cured ham shank and has a mild flavor that is adaptable to different types of seasoning and herbs.
- The cured ham shank, on the other hand, is often used for holiday dinners or special occasions due to its distinctive smoky and salty taste. It can be used in dishes such as ham and beans, split pea soup, or glazed ham shank with pineapple and brown sugar.
Benefits of Ham Shank
Incorporating ham shank into your diet provides several nutritional benefits. It is an excellent source of protein, contains a moderate amount of fat and omega-3 fatty acids, and is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium. Consuming ham shank in moderation and incorporating it within a well-balanced diet can also help maintain a healthy body weight and contribute to overall heart health.
What are the Different Types of Ham Shank
Ham shank is a flavorful cut that comes from the lower leg of the pig. There are different types of ham shank, including smoked or cured, raw or cooked, and bone-in or boneless, that can affect the flavor and preparation of the dish.
Smoked or Cured
Smoked or cured ham shanks have been treated with salt and other flavorings and then smoked to give it that distinct smoky taste. These types of shanks are commonly used in dishes like soups, stews, and casseroles as they impart a strong flavor to the dish. Smoked ham shanks can also be sliced thin for sandwiches or cubed for use in omelets.
Raw or Cooked
Raw ham shanks are not cooked and should be fully cooked before consumption. This type of shank requires longer cooking times to ensure that it is safe to eat. Cooked ham shanks, on the other hand, have already been fully cooked and only need to be reheated before serving. This type of shank is ideal for sandwiches or for use in cold salads as it is already cooked and can be easily sliced.
Bone-In or Boneless
The bone-in shank is the traditional cut that is still very popular today. The bone adds flavor to the meat during cooking, but it also makes it more cumbersome to carve. On the other hand, boneless ham shanks are easier to slice and serve, but they may not have as much flavor as bone-in shanks. Bone-in shanks are best suited for roasting, while boneless shanks are preferred for quick cooking methods, like grilling or sautÃ©ing.
What are the Health Benefits of Ham Shank
Ham shank is a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals that can support muscle growth, improve immune function, and promote bone health in the body. Here are some of the health benefits of consuming ham shank:
1. Provides Essential Proteins
Ham shank is an excellent source of high-quality protein which supports the body’s vital functions. Proteins from ham shank help build and repair muscle tissue while also regulating metabolism and maintaining a healthy immune system. Protein also plays an essential role in the production of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies in the body.
2. Boosts Nutrient Intake
Ham shank is rich in vitamins and minerals that help support overall health. The ham shank is a good source of B vitamins (B6, B12, and niacin), which assist in energy metabolism, brain function, and proper nerve function. Additionally, ham shank contains minerals such as phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, which play a role in cell function, muscle contraction, and bone health.
3. Promotes Bone Health
Ham shank is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus that are essential for healthy bone formation and maintenance. Consuming ham shank regularly can help prevent osteoporosis, a condition where bones become brittle and fragile, particularly in women after menopause.
Additionally, ham shank is rich in collagen, which is responsible for the elasticity of the skin, joints, and bones. Consuming collagen-rich food like ham shank can help reduce joint pain, improve flexibility and strengthen bones and teeth.
Where Can I Buy Ham Shank
If you plan to cook a ham shank, you might be wondering where to buy one. Good news – ham shank is readily available from a variety of sources. Here are some of the places where you can buy ham shank:
You can easily find ham shank at most grocery stores, including large chains like Walmart, Kroger, and Safeway. Look for it in the meat section along with other cuts of pork. Grocery stores usually carry pre-packaged ham shanks, but some may offer freshly cut ones if you ask at the meat counter.
If you want to purchase a high-quality ham shank, consider visiting a local butcher. Butchers often offer a wider variety of cuts and brands than grocery stores, and they can give you advice on the best way to prepare your ham shank. You can find a butcher near you by doing a quick online search or asking friends and neighbors for recommendations.
If you prefer the convenience of shopping from home, you can order ham shank online and have it shipped directly to your door. Many online retailers offer a large selection of ham shank from different brands and at different price points. Just be sure to check the shipping costs and delivery timeframes before you place an order.
If you’re looking for a smaller ham shank for a casual meal or as an ingredient for other dishes, a deli might be a good option. Delis often have a variety of ham shanks available, and you can ask them to slice it for you to the desired thickness. Delis usually have higher quality products, but they can be more expensive than buying from a grocery store or online.
How Do I Prepare Ham Shank
Ham shank is a popular cut for many dishes, and each recipe may require different preparation techniques. Below are some of the most common methods of preparing ham shank:
Boiling Ham Shank
To boil ham shank, begin by preparing a pot of water. Add in spices like bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic to the water to give the ham flavor. Once the water is boiling, place the ham shank in it, making sure that it is completely immersed in the water. Cover the pot and let it boil for a minimum of 30 minutes. The cook time will vary depending on the size of the ham shank. Once it is fully cooked, remove it from the water and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
Roasting Ham Shank
Before roasting ham shank, preheat the oven to 350Â°F. Place spices like garlic, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage into a bowl and mix them well. Rub the spice mix onto the ham shank so that it is distributed evenly. Place the ham shank on a baking sheet and add some vegetables like onions, carrots, and potatoes to the sheet. Cover the ham shank with foil and bake for an hour. Once it is fully cooked, remove the foil and let it bake for another 30 minutes to achieve a crispy skin.
Baking Ham Shank
Baking ham shank requires an oven preheated to 350Â°F. Add in your preferred spices and herbs into a bowl and mix well. Rub the mix on the ham shank to evenly distribute, then place it in a baking dish. Cover the baking dish with foil and place it in the oven to bake for at least an hour. After an hour, remove the foil and let the ham shank bake for an additional 30 minutes, so it can brown and form a delicious crust.
Slow-Cooking Ham Shank
For slow-cooking ham shank, use a crockpot. Begin by placing the ham shank in the pot and adding in the desired spices. Add in vegetables and a bit of liquid like stock or broth to ensure the ham doesn’t dry out. Cook on a low setting for a minimum of 6 – 8 hours. Once fully cooked, remove the ham shank from the crockpot and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Alternatively, broil it so that it forms a crispy skin.
Serving Ham Shank
Depending on the recipe, ham shank can be served hot or cold. It can be sliced and served with sides like green beans, potatoes, and carrots or used as a meat base for soups and stews.
Whatever the recipe, preparing ham shank is a great way to add flavor and nutrition to any dish.
What are Some Delicious Ham Shank Recipes
If you haven’t tried cooking ham shank before, then you’re in for a treat. This cut of meat is very flavorful and can be cooked in a variety of ways to suit your taste buds. Here are some delicious ham shank recipes that you can try:
Glazed Ham Shank
A classic glazed ham shank recipe is a great starting point if you’re new to cooking this meat. The sweet glaze is a perfect complement to the salty flavor of the ham. You can use brown sugar, honey, or fruit preserves to make the glaze. Baking the ham shank at a low temperature will help it absorb the flavors from the glaze. You can serve this dish with some roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Ham Shank Soup
Ham shank soup is a hearty dish that’s perfect for a cold day. You can make this soup with potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, and your choice of spices. The ham shank gives the soup a rich and smoky flavor. Slow cooking the soup for a few hours will help the vegetables and meat meld together. You can garnish the soup with fresh herbs and serve it with some crusty bread.
Ham Shank and Beans
Ham shank and beans is a classic comfort food dish that’s easy to make. You can use white, black, or pinto beans for this recipe. The ham shank adds depth and flavor to the dish. You can also add some vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, or jalapenos to give the dish some extra spice. Cooking the dish in a slow cooker or pressure cooker will make the beans soft and creamy.
Ham Shank Terrine
Ham shank terrine is a fancy dish that you can make for a special occasion. You can use a mixture of ground pork, beef, and chicken along with the ham shank to make the filling. You can also add some herbs and spices to the filling to give it some extra flavor. The filling is then placed in a terrine dish and baked in the oven. Serving the dish with some crusty bread and pickled vegetables will make it even more delicious.
Ham Shank Tacos
Ham shank tacos are perfect if you’re in the mood for something spicy and flavorful. You can use shredded ham shank as the filling for the tacos. You can also add some corn, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro to the filling. Adding some hot sauce or salsa to the tacos will give them an extra kick. Serving the tacos with some lime wedges and avocado will make them even better.
Ham Shank and Egg Breakfast
Ham shank and egg breakfast is a great way to start your day. You can fry or scramble some eggs and serve them with some sliced ham shank. You can also add some roasted potatoes and mushrooms to the dish. This dish is simple but very satisfying.
Thank You for Reading and Come Back Soon!
We hope this article has inspired you to try cooking ham shank and mastering this delicious recipe. Follow the steps and tips provided and you will be sure to impress your guests with a mouth-watering meal. If you enjoyed this content, be sure to check back soon for more delicious recipes and cooking hacks!
Cooking Ham Shank: Master the Delicious Ham Recipe
- 1 ham shank
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Peel and chop the onion, carrots, and celery stalks. Crush the garlic.
- Pat the ham shank dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Score the skin in a diamond pattern.
- Place the ham shank in a roasting pan. Arrange the vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns around it. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover with foil and roast for 3 hours.
- Remove the foil and baste the ham shank with the pan juices. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Roast for another 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
- Remove the ham shank from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with roasted vegetables and pan juices.