Baked Ham with Maple Rum Glaze

Baked ham is one of my favorite Sunday dinners, not just because it makes a wonderful afternoon meal but also because it spawns a week’s worth of lunches. In a departure from my usual format I have not written a recipe for baked ham per se but will discuss ham in general and offer a couple ancillary recipes.

Ham is generally classified as “city” or “country” ham depending upon whether it is wet or dry cured, respectively. Country hams, the best examples of which are Smithfield hams, are salty and must be soaked overnight before cooking. And while they are cured and smoked, they are sold uncooked. While country hams were easy to find in the the Washington, DC area I have had little luck finding one farther north. Most supermarket hams are city hams but that does not mean they are all created equal. By all means avoid two abominations that lurk in your grocery’s meat case: “ham and water product” that is 20% or more water and spiral-sliced hams that are impossible to cook without drying out. Beware also of formed boneless ham products that look like nothing that could possibly have been part of a pig. Choose a bone-in or semi-boneless ham so that you will have a hambone for soup. Generally city hams are sold partially or fully cooked; the latter needing only to be heated before eating.

Cook the ham according to the directions on the packaging. If you intend to make gravy (recipe follows) place the ham on rack in a roasting pan. Keep ½ inch or so of water in the pan so that the drippings do not stick and burn.

Maple Rum Glaze

Ingredients

¼ cup dark rum

2 Tbsp. maple syrup or brown sugar

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. grated ginger

Pinch ground cloves

Method

Mix the ingredients in a small sauce pan and slowly bring to a boil. (Be careful that the rum does not catch fire. If it does just cover the pan with a lid.) Pour ½ of the glaze over the ham about one hour before it will be done and the rest 30 minutes later. For the remaining cooking time baste occasionally with the water and dripping in the pan.

Ham Gravy with Raisins

Remove the ham and rack from the roasting pan and place it over two burners on top of the stove. If needed, add enough stock or water to make up a depth of ½ inch. Gently scrape any drippings stuck to the pan and stir to dissolve. Stir in ¼ cup of raisins and thicken with a cornstarch slurry.

Acorn Squash Puree

Halve the acorn squash lengthwise, remove the seeds, and put the halves cut side down in a shallow oven-proof dish. Bake until soft, about 45 minutes depending on the temperature of the oven. Scoop the flesh into a bowl, add a large pat of butter and 1 Tbsp. maple syrup or brown sugar. Stir in ¼ cup of dried cranberries until smooth.

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