Have I told you about our favorite vendor at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market? Her name is Sarah, and she represents Autumn’s Harvest nearly every week at the market. Apparently she is a lot of people’s favorite, as she often sells out of eggs and chicken and certain sausages early in the weekend. So immediately upon our arrival at the market, we beeline it to the far end of the pavilion to the Autumn’s Harvest stand, crossing our fingers that she still has some eggs left.
We may go to the stand quickly, but our visits are rarely short. We linger at the stand, chatting with Sarah about the weather, the farm, the recipes I made with her sausage or turkey or pork the week before, the ones I plan to make in the coming week. She suggests which sausage would be good in homemade ravioli, and sends us home with two kinds at a discount when we can’t decide. We ask about the turkeys, one of which we have pre-ordered for Thanksgiving, and she invites us out to the farm for a visit sometime.
We don’t just love Autumn’s Harvest because Sarah is so incredibly nice. They are incredibly open as to which animals are heritage breeds and which aren’t. They also have the best sausage, incredible bacon burgers, plump whole chickens and lovely turkey legs.
Last week, they had “mini hams,” just 1 -1 1/2 pounds, trim and lean. Since she was out of ground pork, I scratched a dinner from my original meal plan and replaced it with a mini ham, slow cooked in cider and maple syrup, which I then thickened into a gravy.
By the end of the cooking time, the ham will be so tender it will flake apart as you slice it. The slices may not be perfectly neat, but smaller pieces just give you more surface area for the cider gravy! Speaking of gravy, look for a cider that is made solely of pressed fruit, with no additives or sweetener.
- 1 1-4 pound ham
- 2 cups apple cider, unsweetened
- 3/4 cups maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Place the ham in a crockpot and cover with the cider and syrup. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
- Transfer the ham to a plate. I find it easiest to move all the liquid to a large 4-cup measuring cup to more easily add liquid to the gravy a bit at a time.
- Whisk the cornstarch with 1/2 cup of the cider on the stove-top over low heat until smooth. Increase the heat to medium-low. Whisking continuously, add the cider a little bit at a time, until it is all in the gravy. Keep whisking as the gravy bubbles until it is thickened. Serve with the ham.
Make Ahead and Storage
If you have excess gravy, serve it over mashed potatoes, or tightly seal it in a freezer bag and freeze.
Maple Syrup from Vermont sent me product and compensated me for this post, but all opinions within this post are my own. I really do love maple syrup!