Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Holiday Tradition Continues

Each year my husband receives a large fully-cooked, bone-in ham for Christmas. Then I get to figure out ways to serve this delightful treat to my family. Now you must understand that this is a 15 pound ham and we are a family of three with a cat. So this ham will make several meals for us. You know it's bad when even the cat gets tired of ham after a few days. Since ham does not freeze well (the texture and taste suffer from the experience), this must be eaten quickly. My family actually groaned this year when I announced the beginning of The Eight (or Twelve, as my family now insists) Days of Ham. Then they began singing an impromptu rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas, with the gifts all being ham.
I have made it my mission to never make the same ham dish twice, so read along as we embark on our annual ham adventure.

I found a recipe in a special edition of Southern Living Christmas at Home. Currant-Glazed Ham sounded like the perfect kick-off for our annual tradition.

Here we have the fully-cooked bone-in ham, orange juice, brown sugar, sherry, red currant jelly and whole cloves. Whole grain Dijon mustard replaces the brown mustard that the recipe specified.

First I mixed together 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sherry, 10 ounces red currant jelly and 3 tablespoons mustard. I deviated from the recipe a bit by heating this mixture in the microwave rather than on the stove top. Later, I did put the remaining liquid in a saucier and reduced the mixture by about half. This was then used as a finishing glaze.

I lightly scored the ham and placed a few whole cloves in the centers of the diamonds. I only placed about 15 or 16 cloves in the ham as my family would not have appreciated the overpowering clove taste. Just remember to remove the cloves before serving.

Next, I spooned a bit of the glaze over the ham before placing in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours. I periodically spooned more glaze over the ham during the cooking process and poured a bit of water in the bottom of the pan to prevent the sugars from burning on the bottom of the pan. I covered the ham with aluminum foil for the last hour of cooking.

If this tastes as good as it looks and smells we will be very satisfied diners indeed.

I also had roasted green beans with shallots and bacon while my daughter made mashed potatoes with Yukon Gold potatoes, half and half and butter.

The table is set, the candles are lit and we are ready to dine.

And this all tasted as good as it looked. This was a delightful start to our Eight Days of Ham.

But wait, we are not finished yet. So now, on to the next ham dish.

Another family tradition is that I make my Good Morning Casserole for Christmas morning. This time I substituted ham for the sausage. This dish must be assembled the night before so that the custard mixture can soak into the bread. After my wonderful husband hand-washed the items that can't go into the dishwasher and I finished carving the ham, we put this dish together for the next morning. Then, the trick was to find room in the refrigerator for it to sit overnight.

Christmas morning I put this in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes and made coffee while I waited for my husband and daughter to wake up.
This was good, although as my husband noted, a bit blander than the sausage version. I think that I would add some herbs to the custard mixture the next time.
Check in later to see what other ways I can concoct to serve this ham.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

"Check in later to see what other ways I can concoct to serve this ham."

Eggs Benedict.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Oh wow. Just looked at your live traffic feed. Cool. A lot of people in KDH, NC are checking out your blog.

MrsVJW said...

I must be more un-cultured... I don't mind ham that has been frozen, as long as it's going into an omelet or soup or something.

Merry Christmas!!