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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Baked Ham with Brown Sugar, Cayenne and Rum Glaze

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I love a baked ham. I have only recently learned how to make a ham, we never had it for Passover, and what I have learned is usually the ham you start with is fully- or partially-cooked, so it's all about the glaze and how you finish it. I think the most important thing is to start with a high-quality ham. One that doesn’t have all kinds of chemicals injected in it. So once you have the ham, here is an interesting recipe to turn it into something really special.

1 partially cooked, bone-in, 12 lb. ham
2 cups unfiltered apple juice
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark rum
pinch kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, if you dare)
Fresh thyme and orange to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut off the skin and fat to 1/4 inch thick. Score the surface into diamonds about 1 1/2 inches apart. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Add the apple juice and 2 cups of water to the pan. Bake the ham for 2 hours, basting occasionally, add more apple juice and water as needed.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, rum, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. Let stand 10 minutes for the sugar to partially dissolve. Remove ham from oven and brush glaze on ham. Return to oven and bake 2 hours more. Brush with glaze every 15 minutes. So in total, this ham takes 3 hours. When done, a thermometer should read 130 when inserted and the color should be golden brown. Transfer ham to serving platter and let rest 15 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, pour the liquid from the roasting pan into a pitcher so the fat will separate and then remove fat. Pour the degreased juice into a small sauce pan and add any leftover glaze. When ready to serve, carve the ham and warm the sauce. Garnish platter with fresh sprigs of thyme and sliced oranges.