This healthy Mexican Fresh Ham recipe with chili, lime and pineapple salsa will become a favourite on any holiday spread.
Christmas is around the corner and for those of us who spent pretty much all of November eating Thanksgiving leftovers, the thought of another turkey is somewhat out of the picture. Sure, you could go with a prime rib, a pricey lamb rack or a reheat-and-eat style smoked ham, but this holiday, I discovered something new! Introducing the fresh ham that is totally boneless.
That’s right, friends- this is not your momma’s bone-in cured country ham. This unique new fresh ham product by LiberTerre is raised in Manitoba without the use of any antibiotics or hormones on a strict grain diet without any animal by-products. The result is exceptional flavour and lean, healthy meat that will look amazing on any holiday spread.
With so many sweets, treats, and fatty side dishes at the holidays, I love the idea of offering a leaner alternative to fatty prime rib or sodium-packed cured ham. This definitely makes it easier to feel a little less guilty about having that slice of pie or second glass of wine. It also takes up far less room in the fridge (a huge plus with all of the holiday meal dishes), takes a heck of lot less time to cook, is very affordable and is easy to customize with whatever flavours you desire!
Traditionally, you could do something with apples, maple syrup, and cinnamon – but forget about tradition- I’m all about big flavour and I wanted to get spicy for my Christmas feast with a Mexican theme! And while this recipe is certainly great for the holidays but it’s a people pleaser for entertaining any time of year. But before we get started, there are a few things to take into consideration when cooking a beautiful LiberTerre fresh ham.
Fresh Ham 101
- Fresh ham is very lean, so you’ve got to do something to tenderize it. I opted to go for a yummy 24 hour brine filled with bold Mexican flavours like chili and lime. You can also marinate it or pound it like I will be doing in my upcoming recipe for Schnitzel (subscribe on my site to make sure you get that!) Also, a quick note on brines for those who aren’t well versed- if you decide you want to brine (do it!) always rinse off the ham afterwards, pat it dry and then continue with cooking. If you want to add a rub like I did, refrain from adding salt to the mix because the meat will already be well seasoned from the brine.
2) If you’re going to roast it, it’s best to give it a quick blast at high heat to caramelize the surface, and then reduce the heat to low and let it cook slowly. You’ll know it’s done when an instant read thermometer reads 160 F.
3) Let the fresh ham rest before you slice in. Like all meat, a large boneless ham needs a good resting period before you slice it to ensure the juices don’t seep out onto your plate. Give it a good 30 minute rest tented with foil while you prepare the rest of your meal.
So this holiday season, switch up your holiday spread with a LiberTerre fresh ham as the star of the show! Mix and match your family’s favourite brines, rubs and accompaniments and let me know what you come up with!
What are your favourite fresh ham recipes? Have you tried brining a fresh ham? Leave me a comment below with your go-to ideas!
Healthy Fresh Chili & Lime Brined Ham with Mexican Spices and Pineapple Salsa
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 L cold water
- 1/2 cup black peppercorns
- 3 red chilies stemmed and chopped
- 2 limes sliced
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 3 lb LiberTerre fresh boneless ham
- 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth see the Assembly set
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne optional- if you like it spicier
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups pineapple diced
- 1 mango diced
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 - 1 chili seeds and ribs removed, minced, depending how hot you like it
- 1 tsp agave
- 1/2 lime zest and juice
- 2 tbsp cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, combine the salt and sugar with 1 L of the water. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, and stir until dissolved.
- Once dissolved, stir in the peppercorns, chilies and limes. Add the remaining 2 L of water and the ice and stir until the ice has melted and the brine is at room temperature.
- Once cool, add the ham. Cover the pot with plastic wrap, put a lid on and place the pot in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- The next day (when you’re getting ready to eat), preheat oven to 450 F.
- Mix together all of the rub ingredients. Set aside.
- Mix together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Remove the ham from the brine and rinse under cold water to remove the brine. Discard the brine. Pat the ham dry with paper towels.
- Cover the ham in the rub and place on a roasting rack in a baking dish. Pour the 1 cup of chicken broth into the bottom of the dish. Roast at 450 F for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 275 F. Roast for an additional 1 hour 45 minutes- 2 hours, or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 F.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest tented for 30 minutes.
- Slice and serve with the salsa.
Disclaimer: The preceding post was developed in partnership with LiberTerre, however, as always, all opinions are genuine.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.
Looks amazing 🙂