Friday, December 14, 2012

Roast Glazed Ham

In our home I traditionally serve a baked ham on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas).

I do this because it's a nice change from turkey, and also because with turkey leftovers and ham leftovers in the house, along with all the extra goodies we tend to collect at this time of year (smoked salmon, cheese, pate, etc. ) there is no need to worry about food for the next week.  You can coast through until after the New Year eating wonderful food right from your fridge, and spend this time the way it's meant to be spent - a relaxing week to regroup and enjoy the company of family and friends. (Image from )

The way I do my roast ham is very similar to the way I do my roast turkey.  I cook it in a tent of foil and it's very juicy and flavourful done that way.  Here is the recipe.  (Yes, I know there's a turkey in the drawing.  Just pretend it's a ham.)

Ingredients :

-  1 whole ham on the bone (12 to 14 lbs.)
-  4 tablespoons of English mustard (this is the kind you buy dry in a tin)
-  3 tablespoons of coconut sugar
-  about 24 whole cloves.

Directions :

  • Calculate your cooking time.  You will need 20 minutes per pound plus another 45 minutes for it to rest. You will also be removing the ham and glazing it for the last half an hour, so take 30 minutes of the initial cooking time.
  • Preheat the oven to 325'F

  • Prepare the roasting pan by placing two sheets of foil into it in a form of a cross as shown in the drawing.

  • Place the ham into the prepared pan and fold the foil to create a tent.  The key is to make sure there is room for air between the ham and the foil, so the less ham that actually touches the foil the better.
  • Put the roasting pan into the oven and bake for your calculated initial cooking time (minus the glazing time)
  • While the ham is cooking, mix the dry mustard with just enough water to create a paste. Set aside.  
  • When the ham is ready for glazing, take it out of the oven and turn the oven up to 425'F.
  • Open up the foil and fold it around the edges of the pan.  Pour out the juices. (You can keep these in your fridge to make a delicious bacon and vegetable soup next week. See below for the recipe.)
  • With a sharp knife, cut a criss cross pattern all over the skin of the ham as shown above.  Rub the mustard paste over the skin and press the coconut sugar on top of this using clean hands.  Try to cover as much skin as possible.  Now using the sharp pointed ends of the whole cloves, insert these into each triangle you have cut on the skin. (Image from
  • Return the ham to the hot oven and let it cook for another half an hour until the surface has a glazed golden crust.
If you are going to serve it hot, allow the ham to rest for 45 minutes after removing it from the oven so the surface juices can seep back into the meat.  This will make the meat firm up and it will be easier to carve.  If you are eating it cold, just allow it to cool then refrigerate.  You can carve it all into slices or just carve when required.

Here are some exceptions you might want to make to the recipe above :
  • If you don't want to fiddle with making English mustard or sticking in cloves, you can just use regular hot Dijon.  Press on the coconut sugar and then just sprinkle with a little ground cloves.  The flavour will be similar.  You can use honey or maple syrup instead of the coconut sugar, but it won't have the same rich flavour.  If you have to use one of these, try mixing in a little molasses.
  • If a whole ham is too big for your family, a smaller ham can be cooked in exactly the same way.  Just calculate the cooking time at 30 minutes per lb.  Just to give you an idea, a 5 or 6 lb ham will serve 6 to 8 people nicely.
  • One last cautionary note.  Check your ham for extra plastic.  One year I removed the covering plastic and then roasted the ham not realizing there was yet another layer of plastic below that!
When you want a break from all the rich food you have eaten over the Holidays, nothing will hit the spot like some bacon and vegetable soup.  If the ham you roasted didn't have a bone, it won't be as flavourful so you might want to add a little chopped ham to the soup as well.

Bacon, Cheese and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients :

-  about 3 cups of ham juices from your baked ham
-  1 stick of celery, sliced
-  1 small onion, chopped
-  1 small carrot, diced
-  3 or 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
-  1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
-  1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Directions :
  • Put everything into a large pot except for the cheese and the bacon, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, cover and bring to a boil.
  • Immediately turn down the heat to simmer and cook gently for 45 minutes. 
  • Stir the Cheddar into the hot soup until the cheese has melted. 
  • Sprinkle each bowl of soup with a generous amount of the bacon before serving.

If you like this recipe you'll find others like it in my Christmas recipe book 10 Easy Christmas Dinner Recipes. There are three books in my Christmas Collection and together they will give you all the recipes you will need to have a great holiday season.

At this point you have had a great meal of roast ham, another warming meal of soup, and have lots of leftovers in the fridge for impromptu meals, snacks, and Midnight raiding of the fridge by starving husbands and teens.
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