Thursday, February 17, 2011

Small Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze and Bacon

With rising food and meat prices, I'm trying to find ways to stretch my dollar. Leftovers is one of the easiest solutions ... and nothing keeps giving like a ham. But it needn't be that half-a-hog affair for the holidays that weighs as much as a toddler.

Boneless (even bone-in) hams provide a lot of food for a great price. Having said that, avoid propaganda pre-sliced, pre-voted, hunks of meat. You are quite the cook and you can determine the centimeter slice of of your meat and your vote!

A ham like this cooks fast. It provides a ton of taste and, even more importantly, can be used for sandwiches and cut and diced to be used in casseroles later on. And that's exactly what I plan to do with it. It will feed me for quite a while.

In case you didn't know it, I worked in a deli and am "certified" in all things "Boar's Head." To make this ham, I used a Boar's Head product that I highly recommend: Brown Sugar Glaze. It has a great "spice" flavor that balances the sweet brown sugar. The ham was a whole, non sliced, "sweet ham"

A little goes a long way. This will easily do 2 small hams.
 I look for it on sale.

Follow the instructions on the back of the jar. I prefer to stud a ham with cloves after scoring it. You want to score it so the glaze seeps down into it. If there is a layer of fat on the ham, this is especially necessary. Unfortunately, with small hams such as this, there is not. They tend to be very lean.

I've had this can of whole cloves since the 1980's.
I got it at my little corner store in Indiana
where prices were written, not stamped.
I'm not a believer in changing your spices
every year. Sheesh...who came up with that idea?
Oh, the $pice companies . . .
Score the ham diagonally using a sharp knife.
Stud with whole cloves. These are spaced
about two inches apart (they don't have to go into the cuts.)
Because smaller hams can be very lean, I cover it with bacon which is optional. Then put in about 3/4 cup HOT water into the pan and tent with foil and crimp the edges tight. Why? Well, the ham is already cooked. You just want to warm it up and let the flavors seep into it without drying it out. The water and foil will kind of steam it. (The directions only call for 1/2 cup of water, but I like the extra "sauce.")

After scoring and studding, slather with the glaze.

This is probably a bit of overkill with bacon--
I could have used less. It won't crisp during cooking,
it will just release needed juices into the ham
and drip into the water making a wonderful sauce.
(This is my black deli apron.)

Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes per pound. The last fifteen minutes, remove the foil. Baste the ham with pan juices and pat on a bit more glaze over the bacon if desired.

When done, remove and discard bacon. Cut ham into thin, thin slices removing cloves as you go. Place them back into the pan drippings. To make sauce, place pan over low flame and heat up. Add a pinch or two of Cayenne pepper. Strain and serve on the side.

Here's what to make with leftover ham: