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Ham Ala Aquavit

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Author: Debbie Arnold | Dining with Debbie

On one of our trips to New York City, we chose to dine at Aquavit, a Michelin 2-star restaurant located in the Park Avenue Tower. Aquavit features amazing seasonal Nordic cuisine in an incredibly beautiful restaurant setting. It was love at first sight and bite. So when I came across this idea for a traditional Swedish Christmas ham from Aquavit Chef Marcus Jernmark, I just knew I had to give it a try.

The ham bakes in an aromatic soup and is then glazed and topped with breadcrumbs. The critical step is allowing the ham come to room temperature while keeping it covered in its broth, When the ham cooks, it loses its ability to hold onto liquid, but as it cools, it starts to soak it up again. Do not skip this step.

Traditionally in Sweden, the ham would be served accompanied by dishes made from other parts of the same pig such as head cheese. Since that can be difficult to come by locally, I suggest serving it accompanied by a coarse grain mustard or Swedish mustard.

Reserve the ham broth for use in a unique treat called Dopp i Gryta (Dip-in-the-Pot) or use as the cooking liquid for a pot of slow cooker pinto beans.


INGREDIENTS - 8-10 servings

3 quarts boiling water
2 onions, unpeeled, halved and studded with whole cloves
1 large unpeeled carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon espresso powder
½ cup mustard (coarse grain or Swedish -see below)
½ cup fine breadcrumbs



  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

  2. Place ham in an oven-proof pot with the onions, carrot and celery.

  3. Insert an oven-proof thermometer into thickest part of ham and pour in water to cover.

  4. Bake ham in water until thermometer reads 167 degrees F, about 2 hours. Do not overcook.

  5. Remove from oven and cool ham to room temperature while still in pan and covered with water.


  1. Whisk together egg yolks, honey, espresso powder and mustard.

  2. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

  3. Gently lift ham out of its water bath and place it on a roasting pan.

  4. Reserve ham cooking broth for dopp i gryta (see below).

  5. Carefully cut away ham rind and brush top of ham with glaze mixture and breadcrumbs.

  6. Bake ham until glaze becomes golden brown, about 8 minutes.

  7. Tent ham with foil and allow it to rest 15 minutes before slicing.

  8. Serve sliced, with more mustard for dipping.



Dopp i Gryta (Dip-in-the-Pot)
Dip-in-the-Pot is a traditional Swedish treat made from reserved ham broth; it is usually served fondue style accompanied by a bread basket, perhaps some sliced meats, a bottle of aquavit or beer.
Reserved ham broth
Aromatics of preference and to taste (fresh bay leaf, dill, parsley, etc.)
Good, crusty bread, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
Swedish Mustard
Makes 12 ounces
The mustard should be prepared at least one day ahead.
½ cup Colman’s dry mustard
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch ground white pepper
2 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ cup boiling water
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup heavy cream


Dopp i Gryta (Dip-in-the-Pot)

  1. Strain vegetables and other solids from reserved ham broth.

  2. Pour broth into a stockpot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

  3. Add desired aromatics and simmer uncovered for one hour, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced by half; it should be rich and flavorful.

  4. Strain out aromatics and serve clear broth in a fondue pot or other heated serving vessel, accompanied by bread pieces.

  5. To eat, spear bread squares with fondue sticks or forks and dip in the liquid

  6. Adapted from Saveur magazine

Swedish Mustard

  1. Place all the ingredients in the container of a blender; blend for 1 minute.

  2. Scrape down the sides of the blender and process for 30 seconds longer. The mustard should be a little thicker than heavy cream.

  3. Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed glass jar. in the refrigerator and let the flavors marry for at least a day before using.

  4. The longer it sits, the better it tastes and the thicker it gets.

  5. Adapted from Tyler Florence, Food Network

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