Holiday hams

Cynthia Stone
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The first holiday weekend of the year calls for something special, something delicious and warm that makes plenty to serve all your family and friends with lots of leftovers besides.

Honey-maple whisky baked ham

This recipe truly lets the flavour of the meat shine through. It is sweet and just a little spicy, coating the salty baked ham in rich, flavourful syrup.

Choose scalloped potatoes or some other side dish that doesn't need a sauce to make it complete, because you will want to reserve it all for the ham.

If you have an aversion to cooking with alcohol, you can substitute apple juice, but I suggest you skip this recipe and try another, because the whisky adds so much character.

1 large bone-in picnic ham

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup each honey and maple syrup

1 cup rye whisky

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. white wine or cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, crushed but left whole

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Line the roaster with a double thickness of foil to make cleanup easier.

A heavy-gauge stainless steel roaster is a good alternative.

Remove the thick cap of skin from the ham, but leave a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife, but don't cut into the meat. Lay on a rack, fat side up, in the prepared roaster. Pour boiling water into the bottom of the roaster under the ham.

For the glaze, combine honey, maple syrup, whisky, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic and red pepper flakes in a small pot and bring to a boil.

Simmer uncovered until thickened and glossy - about 10 minutes; discard garlic.

Cool 10 minutes, then spoon about 1/4 cup of the glaze all over ham. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325 F for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove foil, baste ham with the liquid in the roaster and return to oven.

Continue baking, spooning on a little more of the glaze every half hour, until the internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 160 F when inserted in the thickest part of the meat, but not touching the bone.

In total, expect to bake the ham about 25 minutes per pound and use about half the total amount of glaze.

Remove from oven and wrap in foil. Allow to rest at least 15 minutes. Microwave the remaining glaze until hot and serve with the ham.

Ham roasted with citrus-sage brown butter

If you're looking for a sauce that goes with baked potatoes or plain cooked root vegetables, this is the one for you.

It is not quite as sweet as many ham glazes, but packs a powerful herb hit.

1 large bone-in picnic ham

4 whole peeled carrots

2 large onions, quartered

4 large stalks celery, halved

1 bulb garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and left whole

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 cups orange juice

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. unsalted butter (no other)

1 pinch salt (none if using salted butter)

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup sage leaves

4 whole cloves

Once again, line a large roaster with a double thickness of foil.

Toss carrots, onions, celery and garlic with olive oil and pile up in the middle of the roaster.

Remove the skin cap and score fat on ham. Place on top of vegetables in roaster and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 325 F for 1 1/2 hours.

For the sauce, combine orange juice, sugar, butter, salt, pepper, sage leaves and cloves in a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until thickened - about 20 minutes.

Discard cloves and sage leaves. Spoon a little of the sauce over ham and return to oven, uncovered.

Bake until internal temperature reaches 160 F, basting now and then with a little more of the sauce - be sure to keep enough for the table.

Remove from oven and wrap ham in foil. Allow to rest at least 15 minutes.

The vegetables in the roaster are delicious, but not very pretty, so you may have to save them for yourself.

Serve sliced ham with reheated reserved sauce on the side.

Mango and mustard glazed ham

I saved the easiest for last. This sauce is thick when you mix it, making it perfect to serve with ready-cooked or boiled instead of baked ham.

If you are wondering why I haven't mentioned boiling the ham until now, it's because I don't do it unless it was frozen for a long time or not completely thawed.

Feel free, especially if you're trying to cut back on salt.

If you do, reduce the roasting time to about 1 hour or skip that step altogether.

1 large bone-in picnic ham

2 cups bottled mango chutney (found in the Indian food section of the grocery)

3 tbsp. Dijon or hot grainy mustard

As with the other recipes, it really makes your life easier if you line the roaster with foil.

Remove skin and score fat. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325 F until it's about half an hour from being done.

Ham is forgiving and difficult to overcook horribly, so I suggest you bake it until you think it's just about ready to serve.

Combine chutney and mustard and spoon a little of it over ham. Bake uncovered until internal temperature reaches 160 F, basting a couple of times and spooning on a little more of the sauce.

Remove from oven and wrap in foil. Allow to rest at least 15 minutes.

Heat remaining sauce in the microwave and serve with ham.

Plain rice is particularly good with this sauce, playing well with the sweet, fruity flavour and hint of pungency from the mustard.

If you want a slightly milder sauce, substitute apricot preserves for mango chutney.

Enjoy the holiday and freeze your leftover ham. Next week I'll come up with some ideas for what to do with that.

Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher in St. John's. Questions may be sent to her c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John's, NL, A1E 4N1.

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Janice Haynes
    April 07, 2012 - 07:58

    I love Cynthia's writing style, her recipes, her timeliness...the whole bit. However, these bits of paper I have floating all over my hard-to-reach recipe cupboard are a bit much. When is Ms. Stone producing a book? "Cynthia's Telegram Favorites" or "Stone's Keepers", or simply "Cynthia's Notable Recipes". Actually, I am sure she has come up with a title already. Maybe such a cookbook already exists! If so, how come I haven't see it or heard about it? Hmmm??? (Said in a demanding hmmmm-tone)