What Is Chicken Ham? The Complete Guide

Are you looking for a healthier alternative to traditional pork ham? Look no further than chicken ham!

This delicious and lean option is made from skinless chicken breasts that are cured and cooked to perfection. But how exactly is it made? And what are the best ways to cook it?

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about chicken ham, from its origins in Japan to alternative cooking methods.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about this tasty and nutritious option for your next meal.

What Is Chicken Ham?

Chicken ham is a type of ham made from skinless chicken breasts that are cured and cooked to create a lean and healthy alternative to traditional pork ham. It is a popular choice for those who are looking for a low-fat and high-protein option for their meals.

The process of making chicken ham involves soaking the chicken breasts in a salt brine for a period of time, depending on their weight. The chicken is then cooked and/or smoked to create a delicious and flavorful ham that can be used in a variety of dishes.

The History And Origins Of Chicken Ham

The origins of chicken ham can be traced back to the ancient traditions of preserving and storing food. The practice of curing meat, such as pork, dates back to the Etruscan civilization in the 6th and 5th century BC. However, the idea of using chicken as a substitute for pork in the production of ham is a more recent development.

The popularity of chicken ham can be attributed to the growing demand for healthier food options. As people become more health-conscious, they are looking for alternatives to traditional pork ham that are lower in fat and calories. Chicken ham provides a leaner option that is still packed with flavor.

The process of making chicken ham is similar to that of traditional pork ham. The chicken breasts are first soaked in a salt brine to cure them, then cooked and/or smoked to create the desired flavor and texture. Unlike pork ham, chicken ham does not require nitrates or nitrites for curing, making it a healthier alternative.

How Is Chicken Ham Made?

To make chicken ham, you will need skinless chicken breasts as the raw material. Thighs can also be used, but it is recommended to remove the skin and bones before processing. The first step is to prepare a brine by mixing water, salt, saltpetre, sugar, and pimento grains in a deep container. The chicken breasts are then wiped thoroughly with vinegar and pierced with a sharp narrow blade knife or injected with the brine using a syringe.

After injecting the brine into the flesh of the chicken, it is submerged in the brine and placed at the bottom of the refrigerator. The chicken should be turned every 3-4 days for 2-3 weeks to allow for proper curing. Once the curing process is complete, the chicken can be wrapped and placed in the freezer until ready for use.

Another method for making chicken ham involves using a rice cooker or pot to create tender slices of chicken that can be used in sandwiches, salads, and ramen. This method requires just three ingredients: chicken breasts, honey, and salt. The chicken breasts are placed in a ziplock bag or vacuum sealing bag with honey and salt and left to marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours or 2 full days.

After marinating, the chicken breasts are soaked in cold water for 1 hour to remove excess salt. Once washed and soaked, any excess moisture is wiped off with paper towels. The chicken breasts can then be rolled up and tied with kitchen twine to get a nice round shape or left as-is.

The chicken can be cooked using either a poaching method or an oven method. For poaching, the chicken is placed into hot and barely simmering water and left to poach for at least an hour. For the oven method, the chicken breasts are baked at a low temperature of 120 °C / 250 °F for 35 to 40 minutes until lightly browned on the surface.

Nutritional Benefits Of Chicken Ham

Chicken ham is a nutritious and healthy option that provides a range of essential vitamins and minerals. It is a great source of protein, with a single serving of chicken ham providing about 14 grams of protein. Protein is an essential nutrient that helps in the formation and repairing of cells, and it also contributes to satiety, which can aid in weight loss.

In addition to protein, chicken ham is also rich in important micronutrients. It contains high levels of potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and proper muscle function. Chicken ham is also a good source of thiamin, Vitamin B6, and folate, which are essential for energy production, brain function, and the formation of red blood cells.

Compared to traditional pork ham, chicken ham is lower in fat and calories. It contains small amounts of healthy mono-saturated fat and higher levels of polyunsaturated fats, making it a more favorable option for those looking to maintain a healthy diet.

However, it is important to note that chicken ham may still contain high levels of sodium due to the curing process. Consuming too much sodium can increase the risk for certain health problems, so it is important to limit intake and choose low-sodium options when possible.

Cooking Methods For Chicken Ham

There are several cooking methods that can be used to prepare chicken ham, depending on personal preference and available equipment. Here are three popular methods:

1. Rice Cooker or Pot Method: This is a simple and easy method that requires only a rice cooker or pot. First, trim any fat or sinews from the chicken breasts and cut them in half if they are much bigger than half a pound each. Then, combine honey and salt in a sturdy ziplock bag or vacuum sealing bag. Next, put the chicken breasts in the bag and squish them around to completely coat them with the honey-salt mixture. Add black pepper and/or any herbs or spices that you like to the bag with the chicken. Squeeze out as much air as you can, or use a vacuum packing appliance to remove the air. Seal the bags and leave the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours or 2 full days. Once they are done marinating, soak in plenty of cold water for 1 hour to get rid of excess salt. After washing and soaking, wipe off any excess moisture with paper towels. Finally, poach or bake the chicken until it is cooked through.

2. Brine Method: This method involves making a brine with water, salt, saltpetre, sugar, and pimento grains in a deep container. Wipe the chicken thoroughly with vinegar and pierce it with a sharp narrow blade knife or using a syringe to inject brine into the flesh of the chicken. Submerge the chicken in the brine and place it in the bottom of the refrigerator. Turn every 3-4 days for 2-3 weeks. Remove wrap and place in freezer until ready for use.

3. Oven Method: 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. Place the chicken breasts on the lined baking sheet and season with garlic salt and pepper. Bake the chicken breasts for 35 to 40 minutes until they are cooked through and have a light brown surface.

These cooking methods are all easy to follow and can produce delicious results that can be used in sandwiches, salads, ramen, or even as an alternative to pork chashu. Chicken ham is a great way to add protein and nutrients to your meals while keeping them low-carb and low-calorie.

Delicious Recipes Using Chicken Ham

If you’re looking for some tasty and easy recipes to use with chicken ham, we’ve got you covered. Here are three delicious recipes to try:

1. Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole: This easy casserole is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for a weeknight dinner. Layer cooked chicken ham, cubed ham, and cheese sauce in a baking dish, top with buttery Panko breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbly and golden brown.

2. Chicken and Ham Casserole: This creamy casserole is loaded with chicken ham, noodles, celery, and a homemade cheese sauce. It’s a comforting and satisfying meal that the whole family will love.

3. Chicken Ham Swiss: This simple yet flavorful dish is perfect for a quick and easy dinner. Pan-sear chicken ham in an oven-proof skillet, top with sliced ham and Swiss cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

No matter which recipe you choose, chicken ham is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes to add flavor and protein without the added fat of pork ham. Give it a try in your next meal!

Comparing Chicken Ham To Traditional Pork Ham

When it comes to comparing chicken ham to traditional pork ham, there are several differences to consider. Pork ham is made from the hind leg of a hog and can be preserved and prepared in many different ways. It can be roasted, cured, smoked, or prepared in a variety of other ways. On the other hand, chicken ham is made from skinless chicken breasts and is typically soaked in a salt brine before being cooked and/or smoked.

One of the most significant differences between the two types of ham is the taste. Many people believe that pork ham has a more distinct and flavorful taste than chicken ham. This is because pork is generally smoked or cured in a way that makes it quite tasty, while chicken is not typically prepared in the same way.

Another difference between the two types of ham is their nutritional content. Chicken ham is often considered to be a healthier alternative to pork ham because it is lower in fat and calories. For example, chicken ham has 35% less cholesterol than pork ham.

Ultimately, whether you prefer chicken ham or traditional pork ham will come down to personal taste and dietary preferences. Some people may prefer the taste of pork ham, while others may prefer the leaner and healthier option of chicken ham.