I’ve never served a ham — unless you count deli sandwiches — but I sure do like to eat it. With just two and a half diners at my house, there’s not much point in babying big old hunk of shank for hours … OK, now having said that, I actually want to …
But not this weekend. We’ll be at John’s folks’ farm for Easter Sunday. The big buffet table will be laden with Sarah’s cheesy potatoes, MIL’s potato salad, Aunt Linda’s lime Jel-lo garnished with shredded carrots (?!), and a huge jar of neon purple pickled eggs and beats.
I’ve always brought a fancied-up fruit salad and (more recently started to bring) an Asian noodle salad that has no business at an Easter table except for the fact that everyone loves it.
Anyway, my mother-in-law will serve up a huge ham to feed at least 15, with enough leftovers to send home with each family. I don’t know what she does to it, but it’s always tasty.
(The best part, aside from the taste, is watching my husband and his father try to figure out the electric knife. One of these years, someone’s going to get hurt.)
But if disaster struck, and I had to serve a ham myself, I’d try this orange-based spicy glaze from Epicurious.com.
Seriously. I know they’re cured and safe to eat cold, since that’s how my aunt serves it every Christmas Eve. Her party is more of an open house, with guests stopping by and eating whenever they want.
She sets a spiral sliced bone-in ham on a buffet table, along with bread, cheese and sandwich fixings, and we make up our own plates at will.
But I’ve had holiday ham served hot (and often totally dried out) in other places, and wasn’t keen on the concept.
To me, there’s nothing good to be said about dried-out meat. I hate chewing it, tasting it, swallowing it and even looking at it.
My husband can eat a dried out pork chop in about three bites, but I need significant amounts of gravy, pan sauce or even ketchup to get it down.
I wasn’t about to buy a ham just to dry it out, so I never have.
Well, this morning, I was wondering about this for the billionth time, and realized I was flanked by two people who are well-versed in the preparing and serving large amounts of meat.
Kevin Cuneo and Marnie Mead agreed that hot ham tastes better, and that it can take a good chunk of time to get it that way, especially if you have a bone in the middle.
Marnie said it would be a good idea, actually, to put it in a Crock-Pot while I’m at work.
Enter, Christmas Eve. I’ve been pouring over recipes for rolled, stuffed pork loin roast for that night, because my little family will be on our own for dinner this year. The pork loin seemed special enough for the occasion, and still doable after I got home from work that day.
But after Kevin and Marnie’s advice, I thought the ham might be easier, and just as good.
Marnie said she loves her ham with a thick glaze and crust on the outside, which sounds perfect to me, in case I do succeed in drying the darned thing out after all.
She shared a couple of ideas for that glaze, both of which look lovely:
From Ina Garten
BAKED VIRGINIA HAM
1 (14 to 16-pound) fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham on the bone
6 garlic cloves
8 1/2 ounces orange marmalade
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 orange, zested
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan.
Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the marmalade, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
From Martha Stewart
HAM WITH APRICOT GLAZE
7 pounds (about half of a bone-in) cured smoked ham, (butt end), room temperature
2 cups apricot jam
1/4 cup mustard powder (Marnie said she’d use whole gain mustard.)
Butter for aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil; place roasting rack in pan.
With a sharp knife, trim fat, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick layer. Lightly score fat in a diamond pattern (do not cut into meat). Place ham, fat side up, on rack; roast 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine jam and mustard (they can be mixed and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead). Transfer 1/2 cup mixture to a small bowl to glaze ham. Set aside saucepan with remaining mixture.
After 1 hour, brush ham with glaze. Repeat every 15 minutes until brown and shiny, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part, avoiding bone, registers 130 degrees, about 1 hour more (if glaze starts to burn, tent ham with buttered foil). Discard unused glaze. Remove ham from oven; cover loosely with buttered foil to keep warm. Temperature will then rise another 5 to 10 degrees.
Bring jam mixture in saucepan to a boil. Carve ham, reserving bone and 2 cups of meat for Split Pea Soup
– Martha Stewart
This might also be useful to us holiday hams: How to make the perfect holiday ham, from www.kitchendaily.com