Kick-Ass Glazed Ham, That's Much Easier than it Sounds
My fellow Canuck, Graham Edwards mentioned that today is Canadian Thanksgiving Day. He did a cool Live Buzz on the subject. It's here if you're curious.
I mentioned my Thanksgiving day menu in the comments. Some people asked for the Glazed Ham recipe.
It's more a method than a recipe, but I'll try my best.
It's an easy method to pull off a spectacular meal. It involves baking a ham in a liquid. Glazing it and using the drippings to make a sauce. This basic method has umpteen possible variations.
They all have one thing in common. The oven does most of the work. You get all the praise.
This is my favourite variation.
Baked Ham: Maple Syrup, Earl Grey, Apple and Cardamom Glaze
· Half Ham (3.5 to 4.5 kg), use the so-called RTE (ready-to-eat... uh, no, that's just gross) type.
· 1 cup brewed tea (anything, I use Earl Grey because that's what I usually have hanging around. If ever Dean Owen comes over, I'll need to buy something else. I seem to remember he hates the stuff.)
· 1 cup Apple juice (natural better, in a pinch you can also use apple sauce thinned with water, or even finely diced apples)
· ½ cup Maple Syrup (120 ml) You can get away with mystery-syrup too. You know, the stuff they call table syrup for use on pancakes etc.
· ¼ cup Packed brown sugar the darker the better (60ml, 50g)
· ¼ tsp ground Cardamom (~2ml, but it's so good I usually just dump some in without measuring.) There is no substitute for cardamom, no matter what the web says. If you don't like cardamom, use equal parts of ground cinnamon and either ground nutmeg or ground ginger.
· 2 tbs apple cider vinegar (or white, or malt, or whatever. Cider vinegar enhances the apple in the recipe but it isn't so important that you need to run out to buy some. Use what you have.)
· 1 tbs cornstarch (corn flour) which will be mixed in 3tbs water when needed. I suppose a roux will work too, (1tsp, 5mls, each of butter and flour) but this is so much easier to use.
Prepare the ham by removing the wet white stuff near the bone. It doesn't break down in cooking. It just leaves a stringy mess. Use a sharp knife and dig it out.
Stuff some wadded up paper towels in the cavity to soak up any residual gunk. Give it a few minutes and throw the paper out.
For baking the ham:
1. Pre-heat oven to 325F
2. Place Ham in a tight fitting roasting pan.
3. Combine the tea, apple juice, and ¼ cup of maple syrup.
4. Pour mix onto ham
5. Add enough water to bring it to a depth of ¼ inch (~1 cm) Add more water as needed throughout cooking.
6. Bake to an internal temp of 105 to 110F, (about 15 minutes per pound, half hour per kilo.)
7. Prepare glaze while baking
Preparing the glaze
1. In a small bowl, mix 2tbs of maple syrup with the brown sugar and cardamom. It'll make a thick paste. Make it homogenous but as thick as you can get it. Men have the advantage here. We tend to have stronger hands.
2. Let sit while the ham bakes.
NOTE: Don't be shy about doubling or even tripling the glaze part. I adjusted this recipe for "normal" people. I prefer a thicker glaze.
I think that too much of a good thing is a much better thing.
Glazing the ham:
1. Remove ham from oven
2. Raise oven temperature to 425F
3. Smear glaze over ham and don't be shy about it. Use your clean hands. Get in there! Watch out for the liquid, though. It will be hot!
4. Return ham to oven even if it has not yet reached 425F
5. Bake until glaze bubbles and begins to darken (10 to 15 minutes)
6. Internal temp should be around 125F
7. Remove ham from oven and tent loosely with aluminium foil for 20 to 30 minutes. Internal temp will rise to 130 – 140F.
8. Make the sauce while it rests
Making the sauce
1. Pour pan juice into a 4-cup container.
2. Let sit for 10 – 15 minutes and spoon off any fat that rises.
3. Pour juices into saucepan and whisk in 2tbs maple syrup and vinegar.
4. Reduce sauce to desired flavour intensity.
5. Combine cornstarch (aka "corn flour" in the UK) and water, mix well, and add to sauce.
6. Cook 15 to 30 seconds to desired consistency stirring/whisking constantly until thickened.
Traditionally, this is served with mashed potatoes or mixed veggies and a salad.
BTW: Beer goes better with baked ham than wine.