Delicious Ham Recipes For Easter
Two delicious cured ham recipes for Easter (and one faux ham recipe for vegetarians).
Though lamb continues to be the traditional Easter main course in much of the rest of the world, ham has been the Easter meal of choice in the United States for much of the nation’s history.
When the first settlers came to North America, they slaughtered their meat during the fall. This provided a rich food source during the hard months of winter. Because there was no refrigeration, they relied on the cold weather to keep their meat fresh. Any pork that hadn’t been eaten by the time spring arrived was cured in brine for later. This process took time — a few weeks, at least — so the first hams were ready right around Easter, just in time for the breaking of the Lenten fast.
Types of Hams
There are three basic kinds of ham on the market today: city ham, country ham, and fresh ham. Most ham sold in grocery stores is city ham, which is soaked in brine before getting smoked or boiled. Country-cured hams are dry-cured in salt, smoked over hardwoods, and aged for at least 60 days. Country-cured ham is drier than city ham, but some say it is more flavorful. Both city ham and country ham have been cooked once before you buy them, so they are safe to eat right out of the package (though cooking and glazing make them more tender, and help to bring out the natural flavors).
It’s also possible to buy a completely fresh ham, raw and uncured. Most grocery stores don’t sell fresh ham, though you may be able to find one at a specialty butcher shop, or even direct from the farmer. It’s important to bring a fresh ham up to an internal temperature of at least 148° F, to kill any bacteria.
Ham is traditionally baked with some type of glaze. Allow at least 10 minutes per pound of weight for a cured ham to cook. Fresh ham will take longer. When buying a ham for a large gathering, be sure to take the weight of the bone into consideration, and buy at least 3/4 pound for each person you are feeding. If you are buying a boneless ham, you only need about 1/4 pound per person.
Try these mouthwatering ham recipes this Easter (including one for the vegetarians among us):
Pineapple Glazed Ham Recipe
1 6-lb fully-cooked, bone-in ham
1 fresh pineapple
2 6-oz. cans pineapple juice
1 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325° F. Place the ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan. With a sharp knife, remove the skin from the pineapple, slice it into 1/2-inch slices, and cut out the cores from the slices. Pin the slices onto the ham with toothpicks. Bake ham in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. While the ham is baking, mix the pineapple juice and brown sugar in a microwave-safe ceramic or glass bowl and microwave on medium power until the glaze is boiling and slightly thickened.
After 30 minutes, pour about half the glaze evenly over the ham and pineapple. Cook the ham for another 30 minutes, then pour the rest of the brown sugar mixture over it. Continue baking the ham until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest section reads 140° F, about 30 more minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, and serve.
Maple Glazed Ham Recipe
1 5-pound fully-cooked, bone-in ham
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dry mustard
Preheat the oven to 325° F. With a sharp knife, score the outside of the ham in a diamond pattern, making shallow cuts about 1 inch apart. Place in a roasting pan., and roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and mustard powder. After 30 minutes are up, brush 1/3 of the glaze over the ham. Bake 20 more minutes, and repeat twice with remaining glaze. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, and serve.
And, one for the vegetarians …
Just because you don’t eat meat doesn’t mean you have to jettison tradition. Try this faux ham recipe made with seitan (gluten roast) to enjoy that delicious, juicy, smoky ham flavor with a clear conscience.
2 cups instant gluten flour
2 1.41-oz. packets of Goya ham flavored bouillon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1-1/4 cups water
4 1.41-oz. packets of Goya ham flavored bouillon
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
4 cups tap water
Begin by preparing the seitan roast. In a large bowl, mix, the wheat gluten, bouillon, cloves, and cayenne pepper. Stir with a fork to distribute the seasonings evenly. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, liquid smoke, soy sauce, oil, and 1-1/4 cups water. Mix well. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, until firm, and form into a large, thick egg-shape.
Combine all of the broth ingredients into a crockpot. Stir briefly to dissolve the bouillon. Place the seitan roast into the broth. Cover the crockpot and allow it to cook on low for 8 to 12 hours, turning the roast over halfway through. Slice to serve.
Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.