Saturday, December 22, 2012

Clove-Studded Holiday Ham with a Spiced Orange Glaze

Holiday Ham
I have never attempted to bake a ham because I've never really been a fan of ham and it always felt a little bit intimidating. Why? I have no idea because all you basically have to do is heat it up and glaze it. That's it.

I have helped others cook a ham and I've always glazed it with the packet that comes with the ham. The ham would taste fine, but never lick-my-fingers good. Well, I'm here to tell you that if you aren't a ham fan, this recipe might convert you. The glaze is amazing and the ham turned out so moist and juicy. It even looks festive for the holidays.

Baking a ham is so easy, but it takes a little bit of time. The ham is already cooked and you are basically reheating it, but if you are working with a large ham or a frozen one, it'll take more time. I'd recommend thawing your ham the day or night before you want to cook it. You want to plan about 15 minutes per pound to heat it. Optimal serving temperature for ham is about 140 degrees, so you can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. My ham cooked a little bit faster than the 15 min/lb and using the thermometer ensures that you won't overcook it and dry it out.

Now let's talk about the glaze. Some people glaze the last 5-10 minutes after the ham is 140 degrees, but I liked basting it with the glaze throughout the cooking process. I basted it about every 20-30 minutes and the flavor went throughout the ham. It was awesome! I did a big ham and we had plenty of leftovers for soup and sandwiches.

This ham is rockin'! It's moist, juicy and full of holiday flavor. I love the spices with the hint of orange. It's perfect for the holidays. The whole cloves used to stud the ham don't provide a lot of flavor, but they look festive. I added ground cloves to the glaze to enhance the flavor. You want to cover the ham to prevent it from drying out and the glaze created a delicious crust. I'm sure you will love this.

Here's what you need:
-10-12 lb spiral-cut ham (you can use a smaller ham and you can half the glaze recipe)
-2-3 TBS of whole cloves
-3/4 C honey
-3/4 C brown sugar
-1/2 TBS dark molasses
-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. ground cloves
-juice of one orange (about 1/4- 1/2 C)
-zest of one orange

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place your ham in a large roasting pan. You may want to line it with foil because the glaze makes a bit of a mess. Take whole cloves and poke them into the large portion of the ham that is not sliced. This is called "studding." I placed them in between the diamond pattern. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and place in oven.

Clove Studs

 2. In a medium sauce pan, combine honey, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ground cloves, orange juice and orange zest. Stir mixture and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low just to keep mixture warm.

3. Open oven and uncover ham and baste with mixture every 20-30 minutes.

4. Once your ham has reached 140 degrees, remove ham from oven and uncover. Turn heat up to 425 degrees. While oven is heating, spoon glaze over ham and baste with a basting brush. Pull back the sliced pieces and ensure glaze goes in between ham pieces.

5. Once oven is at 425 degrees, return ham to oven uncovered and bake for another 5 minutes. Turn off oven and broil top of ham for 3-5 minutes to create a candied crust on ham.

Glazed Ham

6. Remove from oven and allow ham to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

This would make a wonderful holiday meal with plenty of leftovers.

Enjoy and Happy Baking.

Here's the printable recipe.

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