Easter Ham with Maple and Mustard Glaze

Plated ham with potatoes and spring vegetables

A succulent glazed ham is an easy and classic choice for a holiday celebration. And since Easter is right around the corner, why not plan on picking up a half pre-cooked ham, either shank or butt end if you will be serving 12 or fewer people.  For a larger number of people, a whole ham would be your best choice. Providing you’re not going for a smoked country ham, a ready-to-eat ham is an economical choice as it often goes on sale just before Easter.  Even so, look for the best quality. “In natural juices” on the label will assure a better flavor than”with water added”.

Now, which to buy, the butt end or the shank end?  The butt end will provide more meat, although it will be more difficult to slice because of the shape of the bone.

Ingredients

½ ready-to-eat, cooked ham, bone-in, uncut (not spiral cut), shank or butt end, 8-11 lbs.

About 50 cloves

Glaze

½ cup champagne vinegar

¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup country-style Dijon mustard

2 T apricot jam

Pinch of kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Remove the ham from the refrigerator still in its wrapping a couple of hours before you’re planning to cook so as to bring it close to room temperature.

2. Make a diamond pattern on the ham by cutting straight lines into the fat with a sharp knife about ½ inch deep parallel to each other.  Score another set of lines at a 45 degree angle to the first to create a diamond pattern. The classic appearance is achieved by inserting a clove at each intersection.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place ham, fat side up in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.  Cook ham in oven for one hour.

4. While ham is cooking, make glaze.  In a small saucepan, heat vinegar over medium heat until reduced to 2 T.

5. Add maple syrup, mustard, jam and salt.  Cook, whisking, until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Season with pepper to taste and set aside.

6. Remove ham from oven and brush top and sides generously with one third of the glaze.

7. Return to oven.  Remember that the ham is already cooked so you don’t have to cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees as is often instructed.  The ham will need about another half hour of cooking to achieve an inner temperature between 110 and 120 degrees.  It will be very warm, if not hot, and is more likely to retain its moisture.

8. Baste every ten minutes with the glaze. Don’t baste ham with its own juices as the glaze might wash off.

9. Take the ham out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Spiral ham

Everyone’s a Ham by Victor Ribaudo

With Easter fast approaching, many of us are planning the big spread.  A couple of blogs back I spoke about my love affair with lamb.  That’s always been the holiday staple in my home this time of year.  I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t extol the virtues of the ever popular ham.  It also makes an appearance on so many an Easter dining table.

In fact, it almost always seems to be present at any festive holiday meal in America.  Probably because it’s easy to prepare and it just tastes so good!

When I discuss ham with people my age (over 30 is all I’m admitting to) almost everyone has a similar early experience.  Many of us were served the ones that come from those oversized tin cans.  Opening them was a perilous job which my Mom would only entrust to my Dad.  I believe we called them Polish hams in our home.  I don’t know that it really made sense to do so.  I do know that they were usually donned with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries before being popped in the oven to warm through.  They were tasty, especially in the following day’s lunch boxes – nestled between two slices of bread with copious amounts of mustard, of course.

Spiral ham platter

The canned variety doesn’t find its way to my table anymore.  I, as most of my fellow foodies, have graduated to more lofty ham aspirations.  There are all sorts of varieties from which to choose – boneless, bone-in…smoked, sugar-cured…whole, butt, shank, spiral.  You name it, it’s out there and pre-cooked or cured for your convenience.

My personal favorites are the smoky varieties. (Smithfield, yum!) Bone- in, of course.  I mean, who doesn’t look forward to pea soup simmered with a ham bone?  The bone is a must for this home chef.

Lentil and Bean Soup

What’s interesting to me is that although in its purest form ham is just a cured roast, there are so many delectable ways to enhance it.  I like my ham studded with cloves.  Call me a purist, but it just works.  And I prefer it glazed with a sweet concoction.  A nice counterpart to the saltiness of the meat.  (Try Phyllis’ recipe above.  It’s a winner.)

I don’t stop there, though.  Fruit and ham go together like love and marriage.  (Come on, you know it’s true!)  And although pineapple and ham make a heavenly pair, I will often complement mine with peaches sautéed in butter and kissed with a bit of rum.  Over the top for you?  Well, any fruit compote will do, really.  I would stay away from pears and apples for Easter, though.  Too autumnal.

Baguette with ham and brie

Now, I must admit that my favorite uses for ham fall in the leftovers department.  I adore it fried up with eggs the following morning.  Divine.  Sliced and pressed in a panini with brie for lunch.  Irresistible.  Cubed in dinner time soups, stews and salads.  Doesn’t get any better.  Yes, I can eat ham all day long.  My mouth may be dry at midnight, but I’m fully sated.

You know, I’ve just decided to serve ham along with the leg of lamb at my Easter celebration.  I’m hoping that all of the lamb goes, and there’s plenty of ham left over.  It’ll be a salty Monday…and I’m going to enjoy every bit of it.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin

Photographer Bill Brady

Written by Victor Ribaudo

Blog syndicated at the datingsymbol.com

Abigail-Madison Chase says:

April 13, 2011 at 6:49 pm

This looks delicious I am trying it for Easter!

French Onion Soup

In case you’re already thinking about warding off the winter blues, I bring you the inimitable fragrant and hearty French onion soup. What could better warm your innards than a hot steaming crock of this soul warming ambrosia?  Just imagine the creamy melted cheese spilling over the rim of the crock, the crunchy round of French bread underneath and the oniony aroma filling your nostrils.

Now it’s only fair to tell you up front that it does take a bit of time to achieve this luscious result.  I obviously think it’s worth it.  If you want the real thing, prepare to spend a little time in the kitchen keeping an eye on it and stirring from time to time.  You can make other preparations at the same time, but don’t leave the kitchen for too long.

Ingredients

3 strips bacon

½ stick butter (4 oz.)

3 lbs. yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin

1 t salt*

½ t freshly ground black pepper

2 t sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T flour

4 cups chicken stock, homemade or canned*

4 cups water

1 cup dry white wine

½ cup Cognac or brandy

1 T balsamic vinegar

Sprig of fresh thyme

1 Mediterranean bay leaf

Sprig of parsley

1 t Worcestershire sauce

½ t hot pepper sauce

6 slices dry French baguette slices, toasted

1 lb. Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated

Procedure

In a large Dutch oven, sauté bacon over low heat until crisp.  Remove bacon strips and add butter to bacon fat.   Add the onions and cook slowly about 10 minutes.   Stir in the salt, pepper, and sugar and increase the heat to medium.  Stir mixture from time to time until the onions turn to a deep amber color, about 90 minutes. If they begin to stick to the bottom of the pot, stir in a little water or white wine. Add garlic.

Sprinkle on flour, stir and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add stock, slowly stirring in the first 2 cups and then adding the rest of the stock and water.    Bring to a simmer and add wine, Cognac, and vinegar.  Tuck in thyme, bay leaf and parsley tied in a bouquet garni of washed cheesecloth.  Add Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and simmer for 30 minutes

Remove bouquet garni and taste for seasoning.  Add salt if necessary.  Fill 6 ovenproof crocks, place toasted baguette slices on top and sprinkle generously with cheese.  Set crocks on a metal cookie sheet and place under broiler until cheese is melted.  Makes 6 servings.

*If using canned chicken broth, don’t add salt.

The Incomparable Victor Ribaudo Whets Your Appetite for More Cool Weather Soups

I love this time of year.  The brisk air hints at cozy evenings on the sofa, and something warm on the dinner table.  Like soup.

 

Lentil bean ham soup SHI Symbol blog, www.datingsymbol.com

Ham and Lentils with White Beans

Not the chilled gazpacho you enjoyed in July. I’m talking about the rich, gratifying warmth only a bowl of soup can bring as we enter the colder months. It’s amazing what a satisfying dinner soup can make, especially when served with crusty bread and a salad. Extremely nourishing. Economical, too. I just can’t say enough about it.

Chicken soup SHI Symbol blog, www.datingsymbol.com

Chicken Soup

Growing up, I was treated to an amazing variety of soups. That’s just it about soups. There’s almost no end to the array of recipes for them. Of course, a good chicken soup is always the perfect place to begin. Recipes vary, but they always start with a plump, fresh chicken. Then you build…carrots, onions, celery, potatoes. Almost always present in American versions, with noodles or rice, of course. Add dill and parsnips if you’re going for a Jewish take. And don’t forget to serve with matzo balls or kreplach. Feeling Italian? Add canned plum tomatoes, parsley and a chunk of parmesan rind (it won’t melt as you simmer…promise!) When serving, add some pastina (small pastas like ditalini are perfect) and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Really good for what ails you.

Pasta Fragiole SHI Symbol blog, www.datingsymbol.com

Pasta E Fagiole

Beef soup is outstanding, as well. I use short ribs. After enjoying the soup with noodles, I like to serve the ribs and potatoes (I leave them whole) with a side of salad. The meat falls off the bone and has an indescribable sweetness. A complete meal, for sure. You can also add barley to your beef soup, if you want something that really sticks to your ribs.

Da Vinci Wedding Soup, SHI Symbol blog, www.datingsymbol.com

Da Vinci Wedding Soup

Vegetable soups really lend themselves to the economical chef. They’re also extremely nutritious. Varied, too. That’s to say that you can take almost any veggie combination and turn it into a satisfying bowl of steaming goodness. Start with a good minestrone, brimming with fresh peas, carrots, onions, beans, tomatoes, potatoes…you name it. Throw in a hand-full of pastina and you’ve got the consummate vegetable soup. I particularly like bean soups. From complex Cuban black bean to hearty Italian bean (pasta e fagioli) to smoky lentil or pea soups (the ham bone does the trick). All outstanding, I think. I also enjoy pureed soups. Potatoes and leaks form a good team in this arena. So do carrots and ginger. Add a touch of heavy cream if you’re daring enough. And speaking of cream, who doesn’t love a substantial bowl of New England clam chowder? I mean, really…does it get any better than that?

Tuscan bean soup SHI Symbol blog, www.datingsymbol.com

Tuscan Bean Soup

Now I couldn’t possibly mention every type of soup there is out there. I mean, I haven’t even touched upon Chinese wonton or Japanese miso. I just love them all. However, if I had to choose my all time favorite, I’d have to go with French onion soup. I’ve tasted so many – homemade as well as restaurant prepared. Some using roasted beef bones for the broth. Others depending on the caramelization of onions for the rich, brown color and depth of flavor. Doesn’t matter to me. They’re all exceptional. I believe the cheese is what really gets to me, though. Gooey, slightly browned. I especially love the bits that get stuck on the side of the crock. And what about the surprise within…a crusty (not so soggy, if it’s done correctly) piece of French bread. If that’s not a meal, I don’t know what is.

Chilly out tonight? Fill the pot with water or chicken stock and start simmering your own homemade soup. Plan ahead and shop for the ingredients. Or see what you have in the fridge and cupboard. Leftovers are allowed, you know. I mean, use the carcass of last night’s roasted chicken as a base, and create from there. So when the weather calls for soup, you’ll be prepared to answer with a wholesome bowl that will do you good. I think you’ll sleep better that night, too.

Victor Ribaudo

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Written by Victor Ribaudo http://theribaudogroup.com
Recipe Provided by Phyllis Kirigin, https://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell
Blog syndicated at the datingsymbol.com http://datingsymbol.com/


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