Friday, August 29, 2008

As the days grow cooler, its time to consider dusting the cobwebs out of the oven and doing some cooking! This recipe for home baked ham is so simple, and so bountiful, that you’ll love making it frequently. I’m including a bonus recipe for the leftovers, and there will be leftovers. Do not fear the heft of the ham, it is a lot of meat, but there’s a good deal of bone in there (great for Fido when the dinner is done).
After you’ve filled plates and bellies, go back to the ham and start cutting it for leftovers. If you have oodles, separate some out into a couple of plastic storage containers to stow in the freezer. It thaws wonderfully and can be reheated for another day. The leftovers will stay fresh in the fridge for well over a week, if they last that long.

Sweet Home-Baked Ham
Choose a 10-15 pound Butt or Shank portion of ham from your grocer.
You will also need some brown sugar. I recommend pairing it with some potatoes for boiling or mashing, and some corn starch to make gravy with.

Set the ham, package and all, into the bottom of the (clean) sink.
Open the plastic packaging from the top, peeling it down like a banana skin, leaving the bottom for the ham to rest on in the sink. Rinse the ham well, tipping it up to rinse the bottom as well. Make sure to remove any plastic cap the butcher put in under the bone of the flat end.
While your ham drains, prepare your roasting pan. I like the enamel roasters with the raised ridge bottom, or the ridged top piece with holes for the fat to drip out. Pour a cup or two of clear water into the bottom of the pan if using the 2 pc model, just enough to come halfway up the ridges if using the single piece type. This will provide some steam to soften the meat, and a good base for gravy. Place your drained ham in the pan.
Use a sharp paring knife to cut diagonal lines in the ham, just the fatty layer, about 1/8” into the outside, all the way around, then turn the other way and do it again, creating a diamond pattern (no need for precision here).
Create a tent out of aluminum foil (you may have to crimp 2 pcs together) that will cover the pan and ham, and crimp tightly around the pan edge.
Put this grand concoction into a 250 degree oven and let it do its magic for 3-4 hours, depending on how big the ham is.

Pull the ham out of the oven and remove the tent. Bump the oven up to 350 degrees.
Use a fork and knife to pull off the diamond shaped fatty pieces. Put them into the foil tent for disposal (recycle, girls!). Once you have cleaned off the majority of the fatty chunks, you’re ready for sugaring! Using your hands, crumble and drizzle brown sugar all over the outside of the warm ham, tap it into place. Neatness is not required, or possible for that matter!

Put a meat thermometer into the ham, being careful to get into the center of the meat and not onto a bone, and put that ham back into the oven.
Bake it for about another hour, until the thermometer shows 140 degrees internal temperature. Remove it from the oven and let it rest a while before carving.
If you want to make gravy, use the drippings, separate the fat, and thicken with corn starch.
Slice the ham with an electric knife. Serve.

Ham Egg & Cheese Pie –leftovers deluxe!
This is great for brunch, dinner, breakfast, midnight snacks....whenever!
Gather ingredients into a big bowl, mix, and dump into a prepared pie shell.
Slice ham leftovers into cubes, about 1-1.5 cups will do
Add cheese cubes or shreds, a cup or so is plenty
Add a ½ cup or so of frozen carrots, corn, onions, green beans or whatever your family likes, or you have on hand
Mix in 3-4 beaten eggs
Stir it all up and pour into the pie shell
Top with torn up strips of canned crescent roll dough, if a little top crust is desired.

No comments: