Tuesday, 18 March 2008

"This Little Piggy Went To Market" Easter Ham

While many of you folks enjoy a bountiful ham supper on other holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving, in my house ham has always been reserved for one holiday alone: Easter Sunday dinner. Since we only made this once a year, we did it up and baked the biggest ham we could find. That meant oodles of leftovers that we spent the following week reworking and reinventing into different breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

Over the next two weeks, I'll share with you some of my favorite baked ham recipes as well as various ways to use them up as leftovers with a twist. And if you have any favorite leftover ham recipes, do share!

Note: A lot of ham recipes call for the ham to be studded with whole cloves. After I had a guest crack a tooth on a clove that was inadvertently left on the ham, I gave up the whole cloves and instead add ground cloves to my basting mixture.

My Favorite Baked Ham

1 (8-pound) smoked, fully cooked bone-in half ham
2 cups apple juice, divided
2 tbs dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tbs Dijon mustard

Place ham in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Fill with water until ham is completely covered with an additional 2 inches of water. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove ham from the pot and drain. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Trim fat and rind from ham and score outside of ham in a diamond pattern, if desired.

Place ham, skin side down, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Pour 1 cup of apple juice over the ham. Tent the ham loosely with tin foil and bake in preheated oven for 2-1/2 hours. Baste occasionally with remaining apple juice.

Combine sugar, ground cloves and mustard. Add some of the remaining apple juice, a tablespoon at a time, until it forms a mixture that's easy to brush on the ham, but thick enough to stick to the ham.

Remove ham from oven (do not turn oven off) and remove tin foil. Brush the sugar mixture over the ham.

Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 140 degrees, making sure the thermometer does not touch the bone.

Remove ham from oven, cover and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Additional Ham Recipes:

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