Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Easter Ham: Sweet Potato Souffle Good Match for Glazed Ham

April 1st, 2010 · No Comments

If you’re making Easter ham – see all the glaze possibilities below, including the popular Southern Coca-Cola glaze – you must have sweet potatoes with it.

Go over to my friend Ben Starling’s blog, living2eat, to pick up the recipe for Sweet Potato Souffle.

Glazing a cured ham

First, get a good ham. Ham is the leg portion of the pig. A bone-in is preferred, and buying this way means you’ll have a lovely bone left for soup – it freezes, too. If you like ham sandwiches, or ham salad, or meat for casserole, buy extra – it freezes well. For 20 people, get a 16-pound bone-in ham, and you’ll have leftovers. Plan person-to-pound ratios from there.

Almost all hams you buy from the supermarket or the ham store have water and nitrites added as part of their cure. Try to buy the ones that have the least amount of water added; it’s on their labels.  They’re fully cooked; you’re just reheating them. (“Country” hams, are not, however, should be cooked before serving.)

If you’re buying a half, should you buy the shank or butt? Opinions vary; the shank has more bone and gristle, but some insist the meat is better. I have my doubts. Avoid the “portion” cuts – the best center-cut meat has been sliced away to be sold for a premium.

Avoid spiral-cut hams. They dry out and are tougher, in my opinion. Slicing ham thinly is not that tough a job anyway.

Prepare the ham

Rinse the ham, and remove any tough outer skin; remove the fat down to 1/2 inch depth (less if you like – but you’ll lose flavor). Score the remaining fat and put into a large, heavy pan. (Line pan with foil for easiest clean-up if using a sweet glaze.) Rub or and add glaze; heat on 325 till glaze looks good and ham is heated through – an hour for smaller hams and up to 2 hours for large hams. Meat thermometer should register 140 degrees , but it’s not crucial if you’re using a fully-cooked ham. Ham might still be pink inside – this is not hazardous.

Remember to refrigerate all leftovers.

Ham glaze recipes

Maple and brown sugar glaze – pineapple optional: So simple and old-fashioned, but still so tasty! Score ham into diamond pattern; rub completely with brown sugar, working the sugar into the crevices of the scoring. Stud the center of each diamond with a whole clove. Cover ham with pineapple rings, if desired, using toothpicks. Drizzle maple syrup (pure maple syrup – don’t use the cheap corn syrup stuff) over all.

Orange juice glaze: Rub scored ham with brown sugar and stud with whole cloves. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Pour 1 small can of thawed orange juice concentrate over all.

Marmalade – peach, orange or plum glaze: Melt a small jar of marmalade or whole-fruit jam in small saucepan with 1-1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder. Add 1 tablespoon mustard – optional. Pour over scored ham.

Coca-Cola or Dr Pepper or root beer glaze: Score ham and put on large sheet of aluminum foil – enough to wrap ham. Mix in a small bowl 1-1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1-1/2 cups regular (not diet) Coke or Dr Pepper or root beer. Add 1 tablespoon prepared mustard – optional. Pour the glaze over the scored ham and pull aluminum foil up over ham. Bake for about 15 minutes per pound, at 325. Uncover top of ham  in last 10 minutes of cooking to brown glaze slightly; dip juices over ham.

Honey mustard: Mix in a small bowl 1/4 cup spicy mustard with 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Rub into ham.

Molasses and apples: Try to find pomegranate molasses, available at some ethnic food stores, for this. Use 1/2 cup molasses. Dice 2 green peeled apples fine. Stir into molasses with 1/4 cup golden raisins and 1 teaspoon allspice. Put ham on large square of aluminum foil to cover; spread with molasses mixture. Close aluminum foil around ham and bake. Uncover top of ham during last 10 minutes of baking.

Cranberry sauce: Score ham. Use 1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce, mixed with 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon cloves. Add 1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper. Spread over ham.

Spicy mango chutney: Mix jar of mango (or peach) chutney with 1/3 cup golden or dark raisins. Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard. Mix to combine and spread over ham.

Ham glaze ingredients – mix and match

By now, you’ve got the drift. Any number of ingredients can be combined to make a glaze for ham. Fruits and sweets work well, to counteract the saltiness of the ham.

Here’s a list to mix and match – there are many other flavorings that work, too – be creative!

  • Brown sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Pomegranate molasses
  • Marmalade or preserves
  • Fruit juices, especially acidic ones
  • Soft drinks
  • Pineapple, canned or fresh
  • Apples, diced
  • Spiced apple rings
  • Cranberries
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Figs
  • Dates
  • Raisins
  • Brandy or fruit liqueurs
  • Vanilla
  • Bourbon
  • Rum
  • Mustard
  • Horseradish
  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice
  • Chinese five-spice powder
  • Cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic
  • Dry mustard

Tags: Holiday cooking · Recipes: What's Cooking!

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