December 22, 2010

Maple-Ginger Glazed Ham

On Saturday, Juli's son Ian and his fiancé came by to visit, and we had an early Christmas celebration with them.  Ian had requested we prepare a ham, and I was glad to do so, since this gave me an opportunity to come up with a new recipe. 

For the occasion, I came up with a flavorful glaze, based around the distinct flavors of ginger and maple, with a few other ingredients added to round it out.   Now the problem was figuring out how to get the glaze to stick, and to actually sink in and flavor the ham.  Thankfully I'd seen a recent post at Jaz' Octoberfarm blog which gave me some good ideas. 

Jaz recommends trimming away the outer rind of the ham and scoring it.  That sounded like a great idea, so I went with that.  However, I knew removing the rind created some risk of a dried-out ham, so I covered the ham with seasonings, wrapped it in foil and baked it for a couple hours.   At the end of that time, the ham was cooked-through, yet amazingly moist and tender.  The first round of seasonings hadn't created much of a glaze, but I took care of that by making a thick, proper glaze, brushing it on the ham and cooking the ham for a bit longer at higher temperature.  The result:  a tasty yet unusually flavorful ham. 

Adding the glaze after the first round of baking

The ham was a big hit for Saturday's luncheon feast, and for leftovers in the evening.  Juli used some to make soup on Sunday night, and there's still a fair bit for sandwiches and - along with the ham bone - more than enough for another batch of soup.

If you're thinking of having a Christmas ham but aren't sure how you want to prepare it, this recipe may be just what you're looking for.

Maple-Ginger Glazed Ham

1        ham (approximately 10 lbs)
2        tablespoons maple sugar + 8 tablespoons
4        teaspoons freshly-grated ginger + 2 teaspoons
2        teaspoons kosher salt
1        teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1        teaspoon garlic powder
1        tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3        tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Slice away the outer rind of the ham and score the surface.  Combine two tablespoons maple sugar, 4 teaspoons ginger, the kosher salt, red pepper flakes and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Stir in olive oil to make a thin paste.  Spread the paste over the ham, then wrap ham in aluminum foil and place in roasting pan.  Roast for 2 hours. 

Mix 8 tablespoons maple sugar and two teaspoons ginger in a small bowl, then add maple syrup and stir to make a thick paste.  Remove ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. 

Unwrap the ham and coat the surface of the ham with the thick maple paste.  Return the ham, unwrapped, to the oven and cook for another 30-45 minutes, basting the ham with pan juices after about 20 minutes.  Slice ham and serve.

1.  Make sure to use actual maple syrup, not maple-flavored pancake syrup. 

2.  You can use light brown sugar in place of the maple sugar, but the flavor won't be quite the same. 

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