Easter is on its way. If you observe Easter, perhaps you’re planning a meal for your loved ones. Ham is always a crowd pleaser, it’s rich with flavors and there’s always so much of it. Today’s recipe, is not the usual pre-cooked ham that requires little effort to get it onto your family’s plate. This recipe is baked fresh boneless ham. No curing, smoking, or salting has taken place, you have to apply the flavors, and make this dish your own. Now don’t be scared – it’s a lot of fun!
Baked fresh boneless ham can feature as part of a main meal, an appetizer, part of a third course even, or as a midnight snack, and let’s not forget that you will likely have leftover ham for a meal the next day. You can push a hefty slice of baked fresh boneless ham between two slabs of bread or add it to a salad, rice or pasta for another dinner. You see, the options are endless.
This recipe is a combination of many baked fresh ham recipes I have tried. I adapted the brining from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe, the baking from my mother’s recipes, and the glaze, I created using my favorite glaze ingredients which I added to a new cider I found online at Freshdirect, Bordelet Sidre Tendre, it’s so good. I made a very simple and refreshing cocktail with this cider, which I will share with you later this week.
Are you still on the fence as to whether you have the time to try this recipe? I know you’re busy and have little time to get involved in a recipe that requires many steps, but trust me, creating a baked fresh boneless ham can be fun. Set aside an afternoon or evening and get your kids or partner involved. Think of this as a culinary project, something you and your loved ones can share.
The steps to this recipe are as follows:
Baking a sizable piece of meat requires long slow cooking. To avoid drying out your ham brining it overnight will solve that problem and provide a really juicy piece of meat as the end result. Here’s a photo of the ham before it goes into the brine. I bought the ham already tied up.
As I mentioned the ham requires cooking for a while, two hours (yes two hours) prior to glazing, so we must do everything we can to avoid drying out the ham. Wrapping the ham in parchment paper and then covering with aluminum foil over an inch of water helps immensely.
Once you have baked the ham you should remove the skin and score the fat so that its ready for glazing. Once the ham is glazed it should be returned to the oven for a further 45 minutes. Make sure to pierce every inch of the ham with a piece of clove for that wonderful aromatic taste.
The end result is this marvelous example. A juicy sweet tasting hunk of meat for all to enjoy. Jessica, a family friend, came by last night, and she gives it two thumbs up! Thanks Jess.
- Boneless half ham (approx. 6 1/2 lbs)
- 3 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups table salt
- 2 heads garlic (cloves separated, peeled and smashed)
- 10 bay leaves
- 1/3 cup mustard seeds (crushed)
- 1/4 cup peppercorns (crushed)
- 2 cups cider
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 6 cloves (whole)
- Plus a handful of whole cloves for piercing the ham
- Large container
- Roasting tin with rack
- Meat thermometer
- Small saucepan
- Large board suitable for cutting cooked meats
- Place ingredients into a large container that is able to hold the ham with ease.
- Fill the container with water to half and stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Gently place ham into container and continue to fill with water until ham is completely submerged and cover with either lid or aluminum foil.
- Place in fridge for at least 8 hours - maximum 24 hours.
- Remove ham from brine and rinse, discard brine.
- Place rack in roasting tin and then add water it rises to just under the rack.
- Wrap ham in parchment paper, making sure to cover the ham completely. You may have to wrap the ham twice, first across the width and then the length of the ham.
- Place wrapped ham on rack, then cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 2 hours.
- With a meat thermometer, test internal temperature is at least 140, before removing from the oven.
- Add cider, mustard and maple syrup to saucepan, place on high heat and whisk until ingredients are combined.
- Add sugar and cloves and stir until sugar has melted.
- Allow ingredients to come to a boil and then lower heat to simmer.
- Reduce by a third and then remove from heat and set aside until time to glaze ham.
- Remove ham from parchment and place on board.
- Raise heat of oven to 375
- With a utility knife, carefully remove skin from ham leaving a thin layer of fat.
- Score through the fat width and length ways (grid like) with utility knife
- Apply half of the glaze all over the top and sides of the ham, then pierce each grid section with a whole clove, wherever you are able to, the ham should be covered in cloves once done.
- Place ham back into the oven for a further 45 mins, and apply balance of glaze to ham (in two parts) at 15 minute intervals.
- Once cooked allow ham to rest for 5 minutes before serving.