How to cook a Hungarian Easter ham

by | Mar 27, 2016 | Meat dishes

Easter is an important cultural and Christian tradition celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is also linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. Easter Sunday and Monday are marked as public holidays in Hungary. Easter’s origin can be also traced back to pagan beliefs and practices. It’s believed that the name Easter was named after Eostre, the Teutonic Goddess of Spring.

Easter or Húsvét in Hungarian follows the 40 day long Lent, which runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday in commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. After this fasting period, which is often considered as a meat free diet, Christians are allowed to eat meat for the first time on Easter Sunday. And here’s where ham comes into play.

In Hungary the traditional rustic Easter ham is preserved by dry-salting and cold smoking, ripened for months; according to peasant traditions it was always stored for Easter in the attic. However, as an achievement of the modern era, today store-bought hams  are brined. After you have chosen your Easter ham, you have to cook it keeping some simple rules in mind. Here are some tips how to cook a smoked ham properly.

Hungarian Easter ham
Hungarian Easter ham – photo:
Easter ham
Hungarian Easter ham – photo:
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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Wish list

If you are looking for a Hungarian recipe that hasn't been published on this website yet, let me know, and I'll do my best to post it.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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