Now that we are done with Thanksgiving, it’s time to get over the turkey and begin prepping for the Christmas Ham!
Ham is the showstopper of Christmas dinner parties. The succulent main course takes hours to cook but delivers results like no other. Nothing compares to the festive nature of the Christmas Ham. This once in a year indulgence should always be celebrated. There are umpteen ways to make the perfect ham. You may like yours stuffed with cloves or infused with orange zest, but today we’ll be dishing a few tips on how to make it even better!
Some tend to find the idea of cooking ham somewhat intimidating. It’s a big cut of meat; they aren’t sure if they will do a good job or if the piece will even fit in the pots and pans they have lying around.
Steam The Ham
The secret to a good ham is steaming instead of boiling. Often recipes on the internet instruct readers to boil the ham in water or cider. Ironically, this isn’t the best way to cook the meat - in fact, it dries out the meat. The water dissipates and makes the ham dry and chewy. Steaming is a much better option.
You lay out your leg of ham in a baking tray and fill it up to a couple of inches with water. Make sure the ham isn’t in contact with the water; use a cooling rack to lay the leg on. Cover the meat with some baking parchment and then seal with foil. The parchment stops the skin from sticking to the foil, while the foil aids the steaming process to cook the meat tenderly. Cook the cut for two and a half hours at 325°.
Score The Ham
Once the ham is cooked, the water will have evaporated and the ham will have shrunk in size. The skin can now be easily removed from the leg and you are set to make the glaze. Score the top of the ham with a small but sharp knife. Scoring refers to the crisscross slicing of the layer of fat. Keeping fat on prevents the meat from running dry as well. Stud the ham with some cloves wherever the crisscrosses meet.
Prepare The Glaze
The glaze is the crowning glory of the ham. You will have noticed that so far we haven’t used any spices on the ham. You can make any glaze you like for the ham. The traditional sweet sticky glaze makes for a memorable ham.
Warm a blend of maple syrup, brown sugar and brandy on the stove until it turns into a sticky mixture. Once cooled, combine it with some apricot jam and mustard paste.
Spice it up
For spices you can include a sprinkling of Worcestershire Sauce Powder, it really brings out the meaty texture or pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin Pie Spice is a better alternative to cinnamon; it adds to the sweet flavor of the glaze backed with some warmth, and also helps darken the glaze.
Top the ham with this glaze and finish it off in the oven until its deepened in color and sticky.
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