Pressed ham is a classic Norwegian Christmas accompaniment to any buffet. It is custom to not let anything go to waste and so Nordmen Norwegians found a use for everything on an animal. Traditionally pressed ham was made from the meat of the pig’s head. However, in modern times meat is also taken from the upper arm of the pig.
To press about 1kg of meat you need:
A syltepresse: this is a special meat press designed specifically for this purpose. This can be bought at any good cooking store in Norway. Otherwise you can visit a syltepresse supplier in Norway and see which stores they deliver to.
Half a pork head
Half a kilo of pork shoulder
One and a half tablespoons of salt
One teaspoon of pepper
Half a teaspoon of ground cloves
Half a teaspoon of ground allspice
Half a teaspoon of ground ginger
Two teaspoons of ground gelatin powder
Place the pork head in a bath of cold water for 6-8 hours or overnight. Make sure to change the water often, say every two hours. This is so the meat can separate from the bone.
In a large pan put in the pork head and pork shoulder and pour in boiling water to cover the meat. Let head and shoulder stand for two and a half hours. This will make a soaking stock.
Cut off the rind from the pork head in one piece if possible. Separate the fat and cut it into strips. Cut the pork head while it is hot into thin strips. Cut strips from the shoulder. Use a small container with high sides and lay a large cooking cloth in and over the sides. Cut out two pieces of rind to match the base area of the container. Put one face down on the clothe in the container. Save the other for the top. Mix the dry ingredients together. Layer the all the ingredients – head and shoulder meat, sliced pork fat with a sprinkling of dry ingredients and repeat. Place the saved rind on top and then gather the clothe edges up over the meat and tie off tightly with a piece of cooking string.
Reheat the soaking stock to 90 degrees Celsius. Put in the packaged meat and let it draw for an hour until heated all the way through.
Take out the meat bundle and put it into the syltepresse. Lightly compress. As the meat cools, press more and more until the meat is cold and solid.
Store in salty water, a weak brine, until ready to use.
Dinmat.no has a short example video on sylte on their website in Norwegian. For this they use a steal press which can also be used in the brine.
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