Friday, November 23, 2012

Picture Perfect Ham

I bought a shank ham for Thanksgiving this year, with big plans for the leftovers. That doesn't mean I didn't dedicate my day to making this thing amazing the first time around!

Like most hams one buys at the Mega Mart, my ham was full cooked, with water added. The big beautiful bone in the middle helped maintain moisture all the while, even as a certain beagle sighed longingly, knowing it would soon be his. I don't use the bone to make soup, but by all means, you can. It adds great depth and unmistakable flavor to bean soup, and a more tasty addition to bean soup has yet to be discovered.

I started out simple. I opened a can of pineapple and drained all the juice into the bottom of the electric roaster, before lowering in my cold ham. I put the lid on and let him cook for an hour, undisturbed, at 350°.

At fifteen minutes to the hour mark, I pureed half the can of pineapple and mixed it with half a cup of marischino cherry liquid, a half of a cup of brown sugar and two tablespoons of honey. I brought this liquid to a simmer, careful to continuously stir so nothing scorched.

With this, I glazed my entire ham. Then I used toothpicks to secure marischino cherries and pineapple slices to the outside of the ham.

I lowered the heat to 300° and re glazed him every hour for three more hours. Then I glazed him one more time and turned off the heat. The results were a moist, flavorful ham, with a beautiful contrast of sweet and salty.

I recommend everyone prepares a holiday ham in a similar fashion. This meat is as versatile as it is delicious. You can make omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, hot ham sandwiches, ham and cheesy mac, scalloped potatoes, cheesy ham and hashbrowns, eggs Benedict. The sky is the limit!

So there you have it, another great dish from my kitchen to your table!

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