Easter is just around the corner and that means it's time for ham! While a sweet glaze makes for a glorious presentation, it only flavors the outside of each ham slice. I also like to serve an accompanying sauce for guests to add to their ham as they wish.
Unless you're feeding a considerable (and exceptionally hungry) crowd, chances are you'll have leftover ham. You can rely on old standbys to use up any extras - serve alongside scrambled eggs for a hearty breakfast, pile high on a sandwich with all the trimmings on a good crusty bread, dice it and add to your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe or simply toss the bone into a pot of beans or soup to intensify the flavor.
One of my all-time favorite ways to use leftover ham is to pan fry thick slices and top with red-eye gravy. I've included the recipe for you to try at home.
Although half hams are easily found in any supermarket, there are two sources I highly recommend:
Vande Rose Farms Hams
I developed the recipes for these artisan brown sugar hams (bone-in and boneless). Made the old fashioned way, they are "true" hams and have not been pumped with water or phosphates. They have the taste and texture of real meat and are not soft and spongy like most of today's hams. As they are sold in very few supermarkets, you can purchase them at:
Sweet Water Springs Farm
700 Julia Way
Oakland, CA 94621
Prime Smoked Meat
This old fashioned smokehouse has been making good quality bone-in and boneless hams in natural juices for 50 years.
220 Alice Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Open Monday through Friday 7am to Noon and 12:30pm to 3pm
Maple and Molasses Glazed Ham with Cider Raisin Pan Sauce Adapted from Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork by Bruce Aidells with Lisa Weiss Harper Collins, 2004
Nowadays, almost all supermarket hams are sold fully cooked. The baking of a ham serves 4 purposes: to warm it through, to remove excess moisture and concentrate flavors, to improve texture and to allow for adding flavors via a glaze/sauce.
Serves 8-10 with leftovers
1 half bone-in ham (7-9 pounds) or one half boneless ham (6-8 pounds)
2 cups apple cider or juice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water (optional)
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven so the ham does not touch the roof of the oven. Heat the oven to 325ºF.
- Trim away any skin and external fat to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Place ham fat side up and score the fat in a 2-inch diamond pattern over the top surface to a depth of about 1/4-inch. Place ham in a roasting pan. Combine 2 cups cider and 1/4 cup maple syrup and add liquid so that there is at least 1/4-inch covering the bottom of the pan. Continue to add water as needed to maintain a 1/4-inch depth. Place in the oven. If using a continuous read digital meat thermometer (recommended) preset the temperature alarm to 110ºF. Use 15 minutes per pound as an estimate of the minimum time to roast the ham but always use the actual internal temperature to judge doneness (about 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours). If not using a continuous-read meat thermometer begin monitoring the internal temperature after the minimal time (about 1 3/4 hours) based on the 15 minute per pound formula. When the ham reaches 110ºF it is time to apply the glaze. If not yet at 110ºF, continue to check the ham every 15 minutes. To apply the glaze, remove the ham from the oven and turn the temperature to 425ºF. Add more liquid to the pan making sure there is now about 1/2-inch covering the bottom of the pan.
- To make the glaze combine the remaining maple syrup, the molasses, brown sugar, clove and mustard. Smear the glaze generously over the top surfaces of the ham using a large spoon or pastry brush. Insert pan back into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the glaze bubbles and begins to darken. The internal temperature of the ham will be about 120ºF - 125ºF.
- Remove ham from oven and transfer to a carving board or large platter and let it rest for 20-40 minutes while you turn the pan juices into a sauce and finish cooking the meal. While the ham rests, its internal temperature will rise 10-15 degrees and the final internal temperature will reach 140ºF.
- To make the sauce, pour all of the pan juices into a 3-4 cup Pyrex measuring cup or gravy separator and spoon and fat off and discard. Pour the pan juices into a 2-quart heavy saucepan and add the raisins and vinegar and bring to a boil. Taste the sauce to determine if the favors have concentrated to your liking. If not, continue to boil to concentrate the flavors to your taste. You may serve the sauce as is or if your prefer the sauce a little thicker, stir in the cornstarch slurry and whisk for about 15 seconds to lightly thicken the sauce to the consistency of maple syrup. Set aside and keep warm while the ham rests. Carve the ham and arrange slices on a platter. Pour sauce into a small serving bowl or gravy boat and let guests ladle a little over their portion of ham. Remind guests that this is a sauce and not a gravy and a little of this intensely flavored sauce goes a long way.
Serves 2 to 4
2 tablespoons butter
Several thick slices (about ½ pound) leftover baked ham
½ cup brewed coffee
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- In a skillet large enough to hold all the ham slices in a single layer melt the butter over medium heat. Add the ham and fry for a couple of minutes on each side until heated through and lightly browned. Remove the ham from the pan and keep warm while you prepare the gravy.
- Continuing over medium heat use the coffee to deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits that have stuck to the bottom. Stir in the molasses, mustard, Worcestershire and vinegar, increase the heat to high and reduce the mixture until it starts to thicken a bit and is lightly syrupy.
- Pour the hot gravy over the ham and serve with buttered grits or freshly baked biscuits.