What Is Chicken Ham Made Of? A Complete Guide

Are you curious about the latest trend in healthy eating?

Look no further than chicken ham!

This alternative to traditional pork ham is made from skinless chicken breasts and is perfect for those looking for a low-fat, high-protein option.

But what exactly goes into making this delicious and healthy meat?

In this article, we’ll explore the ingredients and methods used to create this Japanese-inspired dish.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just looking to try something new, read on to learn all about chicken ham!

What Is Chicken Ham Made Of?

As mentioned earlier, chicken ham is made from skinless chicken breasts. The breasts are butterfly cut and tightly wrapped with cling wrap before being cooked in a sous vide.

However, not everyone has access to a sous vide machine. But fear not, there are alternative methods!

One option is to use a rice cooker with a “keep warm” function. Simply wrap up the chicken breast, set it in the rice cooker, and forget about it until it’s cooked.

Another alternative is to cook the chicken ham in a pot. This method is just as easy but requires a bit more attention as the temperature won’t stay consistent.

Once the chicken breasts are cooked, they are then cured in a signature brine and wrapped in a round casing before being cooked and gently smoked. The end result looks and slices just like regular pork ham!

The Origin Of Chicken Ham

The origins of chicken ham can be traced back to the 1960s, around the same time that “chicken cordon bleu” was first mentioned in The New York Times. While the exact inventor of chicken ham is unknown, it is believed to have been created as a healthier alternative to traditional pork ham.

Chicken ham is made using a similar process as traditional ham, including curing and smoking. However, instead of using pork, skinless chicken breasts are used. The chicken breasts are carefully prepared by being butterfly cut and tightly wrapped before being cooked in a sous vide or other cooking method.

After cooking, the chicken breasts are cured in a signature brine and wrapped in a round casing before being cooked and gently smoked. This process gives chicken ham its distinctive flavor and texture, making it a popular choice for those who want a healthier option without sacrificing taste.

The Ingredients Used In Chicken Ham

Chicken ham is made using only a few basic ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens. The three main ingredients used in making chicken ham are chicken breast, salt, and sugar.

The recipe also calls for saltpetre, pimento grains, white wine, ascorbic acid, and water. Saltpetre is a curing agent that helps to preserve the meat and gives it a pink color. Pimento grains add a unique flavor to the brine, while white wine helps to tenderize the meat. Ascorbic acid is added to prevent the meat from discoloring.

To prepare the brine, water, salt, saltpetre, sugar, pimento grains, and white wine are mixed together in a deep container. The chicken breast is then wiped with vinegar and pierced with a sharp narrow blade knife or injected with brine using a syringe. The chicken is submerged in the brine and turned every 3-4 days for 2-3 weeks.

After the brining process is complete, the chicken is wrapped and placed in the freezer until it is ready to be used. When ready to cook, the chicken is seared on all sides until brown and then cooked with a variety of spices and liquids such as bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, star anise, garlic, orange zest and juice, Dijon mustard, honey, pineapple juice, and anisado wine.

The Process Of Making Chicken Ham

Making chicken ham is a simple and straightforward process that can be done at home with just a few ingredients and some basic kitchen equipment. The following steps will guide you through the process:

1. Trim off any fat or sinews on the chicken breasts and cut them in half if they are much bigger than half a pound each.

2. Prepare the injecting solution by combining honey and salt in a sturdy ziplock bag or vacuum sealing bag. Add black pepper and/or any herbs or spices that you like to the bag with the chicken.

3. Put the chicken breasts in the bag one by one, squish them around to completely coat them with the honey-salt mixture, and squeeze out as much air as you can. Seal the bags and leave the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours or 2 full days.

4. Once they are done marinating, soak the chicken breasts in plenty of cold water for 1 hour to get rid of excess salt.

5. After washing and soaking the chicken breasts, wipe off any excess moisture with paper towels. You can roll up the chicken breasts and tie them up with kitchen twine to get a nice round shape, or just leave the breasts as-is.

6. Poach or bake the chicken. For poaching, put the chicken into hot and barely simmering water, cook for 5 minutes, then put a tight fitting lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Leave the chicken to poach for at least an hour. For baking, preheat the oven to 120 °C / 250 °F, line a baking sheet with kitchen cooking parchment or a non-stick baking liner, or lightly oil the sheet, put the breasts on the lined baking sheet, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until lightly browned.

7. Smoke the chicken at less than 85° F (30° C), if possible, for 3 to 6 hours until it has a reddish-brown surface.

8. Raise the temperature to 185° F (88° C) and continue to cook for 1 or more hours until fully cooked.

9. Unwrap the pieces, drain them in a colander, cool at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate overnight with no cover.

10. The next morning, wrap all of the chicken ham in plastic food wrap and freeze any that will not be consumed.

By following these simple steps, you can make your own delicious and healthy chicken ham at home!

Nutritional Benefits Of Chicken Ham

Chicken ham is a great source of protein, providing about 14 grams of protein per serving. Protein is essential for cell formation and repair, and it also contributes to feelings of fullness, making it a valuable tool for weight loss.

Compared to traditional pork ham, chicken ham is lower in sodium and saturated fat, making it a healthier choice. Chicken ham also contains important vitamins and minerals such as potassium, thiamin, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, and folate.

In addition to these nutrients, chicken ham also contains selenium, an essential nutrient that aids in reproduction, DNA construction, and defense against infections. It also provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

Ways To Incorporate Chicken Ham Into Your Diet

If you have some chicken ham leftover, there are many ways to incorporate it into your diet. Here are some ideas:

1. Add diced chicken ham to omelets or scrambled eggs for a protein-packed breakfast.

2. Make a classic ham and cheese sandwich with chicken ham instead of pork ham for a healthier option.

3. Use chicken ham as a topping for homemade pizzas or flatbreads.

4. Add diced chicken ham to your favorite pasta dishes for a delicious twist.

5. Make a chicken ham and cheese quesadilla for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

6. Use chicken ham in place of bacon in BLT sandwiches for a healthier option.

7. Make a chicken ham and vegetable stir-fry for a nutritious and flavorful meal.

8. Add diced chicken ham to salads for an extra boost of protein.

9. Use chicken ham as a topping for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.

10. Make a chicken ham and cheese panini for a warm and satisfying sandwich.

These are just a few ideas to get you started! Chicken ham is versatile and can be used in many different dishes, so don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen.

Comparison With Pork Ham: Which Is Healthier?

When it comes to comparing chicken ham with pork ham, it’s important to note that they are quite different in terms of nutritional content. Pork ham is derived from the thigh of a pig and is cured and served, while chicken ham is made from skinless chicken breasts and is cooked in a sous vide before being cured and smoked.

In terms of calories, pork ham has 13% more calories than chicken ham. Pork has 297 calories per 100 grams, while chicken ham has 263 calories. However, when it comes to macronutrient ratios, pork is heavier in protein, lighter in fat, and similar to chicken ham for carbohydrates. Pork has a macronutrient ratio of 36:0:65, while chicken ham has a ratio of 25:3:72 for protein, carbohydrates, and fat from calories.

Pork is richer in most vitamins such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. However, it is also associated with higher health downsides than benefits. Pork meat is cheaper but may not be as healthy as chicken ham. On the other hand, chicken ham is lower in proteins and fats, specifically cholesterol, trans fat, and saturated fats but higher in sodium.

When it comes to specific nutrients, pork ham is particularly rich in selenium which aids reproduction, DNA construction, and defense from infections. Compared with poultry and fish, pork products like ham are higher in iron, thiamine, and other B vitamins. Yet, pork may be lower in some nutrients than other red meats such as beef.

Chicken ham provides all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein. Amino acids help build proteins and play critical roles in metabolism, gene expression, and cell communication. Chicken ham also contains decent amounts of phosphorus, zinc, and potassium which help your body produce energy, fight infections and maintain heart health.