Friday, April 20, 2012

Ham with Maple and Mustard Glaze

Ham. Nothing beats a good ham. We're experts on ham in this house.
 This is just a representation of what 90% of the pictures of my beloved child look like.

But we aren't talking about that kind of ham.  We're talking about bone-in ham shanks.  Over Easter they were on sale for 89¢ a pound.  I bought two and stuck one in the freezer for later.  I would have bought more but they were standing at the door with clubs if you tried to buy more than two.  I probably could have taken them on, but I left my cast iron skillet at home.  Alas.

The last ham my husband prepared was tasty, but as we rarely eat the same thing twice, I had to go searching for a new recipe. I settled on this recipe for ham with maple and mustard glaze from Cook, Shoot, Eat.

Mrblocko and his knives of fury, carving up the ham like a maniac, maniac-woah-oh-oh.
Of course, not one to want to let anyone down, I made a few minor changes to the recipe.  The recipe called for champagne vinegar.  Well I didn't have that, but I did have white wine vinegar.   I thought that would work out just as well.  Except for the fact that when I went to use it, I noticed it had this huge floating disk of yuck in it.  I didn't know that vinegar could grow funky junk.  Guess you learn something new every day.

I decided to use cider vinegar.  Cider is made from apples, and apples are a nice complementary flavor to ham.  And, as it turns out, I had EXACTLY the right amount for the recipe.

Instead of using Apricot jam, I used peach-mango preserves.  Wow.  Awesome substitution.  I've made a peach glazed roaster chicken before that was to die for.  Peach-mango kicks regular peach's butt.  Of course, I might just be a tad bit biased as I LOVE peach-mango stuff.

Oh, one more thing, we left off the cloves.  Neither Mrblocko nor I particularly care for cloved ham.  The ham had plenty of flavors going on, that even if you were a clove fan, I don't think you'd miss them.

This ham was super moist.  I can't stand it when a ham gets over cooked.  It's so sad to see the tender goodies turned into pork chewing gum.  Bleck.  Sometimes glazes can be ├╝ber sweet, but not this one. This glaze had a nice balance of flavors.  It was salty from the mustard, sweet from the maple and jam, and tangy from the vinegar and mustard. An all around winner.

Ham with Maple and Mustard Glaze adapted from Cook, Shoot, Eat
ready-to-eat, cooked ham, bone-in, uncut (not spiral cut), shank or butt end, 8-11 lbs.

Glaze
 ½ cup cider vinegar
¾ cup maple syrup
½ cup Dijon or spicy mustard
2 T peach  mango preserves
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove ham from the refrigerator still in its wrapping a couple of hours before you’re planning to cook so as to bring it close to room temperature.

Make a diamond pattern on the ham by cutting straight lines into the fat with a sharp knife about ½ inch deep parallel to each other. Score another set of lines at a 45 degree angle to the first to create a diamond pattern.

Preheat oven to 325° F. Place ham, fat side up in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Cook ham in oven for one hour.

While ham is cooking, make glaze. In a small saucepan, heat vinegar over medium heat until reduced to 2 T.  Add maple syrup, mustard, jam and salt. Cook, whisking, until well combined, about 2 minutes. Season with pepper to taste and set aside.  Remove ham from oven and brush top and sides generously with one third of the glaze.

Return to oven. Remember that the ham is already cooked so you don’t have to cook to an internal temperature of 140° F as is often instructed. The ham will need about another 30 min of cooking to achieve an inner temperature between 110° and 120° F. It will be very warm, if not hot, and is more likely to retain its moisture.

Baste every ten minutes with the glaze. Don’t baste ham with its own juices as the glaze might wash off. Take the ham out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

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