I remember Easter when I was a kid. Our family wasn’t particularly religious when I was young. Easter consisted of an Easter basket from my mother, a bigger one from my father (they divorced when I was 5) and enough candy and chocolate to feed a small third world country. Then my mother made ham for dinner and that was that. Easter was over and all that was left was some hard boiled eggs that would rot in the fridge and be used later to bury in the back yard with threats of digging them up later and throwing them at people. We never did of course. I like to think that somewhere on the South Side of Chicago, there are pretty eggs buried that I could still go back and throw at my mean people… that being anyone who doesn’t like chocolate, hot tea, liverwurst and reruns of Roseanne or M*AS*H.
When I got a little older (ten I believe), we joined a Lutheran church after one of our many moves. The reason was that we could go to the school there free if we were members of the church. All in all, the three years I went to that school were the best school years I had. I loved going to church on Sunday mornings. I loved the hymns (“He’s Alive”, “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” are still my favorites.), I loved the feeling of family and I loved learning about God. I don’t talk about my faith much on my blog or here but it’s a large part of me.
I also love the food on Easter. I’m not a big ham person normally. But I love Cumberland Gap Hams . They aren’t as salty as most hams and don’t seem as fatty either. I usually make it the typical way, with a brown sugar and pineapple glaze. But years ago I found this recipe for a ham that was different enough to be intriguing and I held on to it wanting to make it someday. Well, someday happened. And this is one awesome ham. Does it dance for you, cook itself and clean your kitchen after you finish carving it? No. Unfortunately. But it’s just different enough with the glaze to make you keep going back to snitch another piece… and another…and another. And it doesn’t get any easier than this. There is no boiling up a glaze, basting every three minutes, blah blah blah. You stick it in a pan, stick cloves in it (I actually changed that up. I’ll explain down there), put it in the oven, brush with the glaze periodically and Bobs your uncle. Ok, maybe Bob won’t be your uncle. Maybe you have an Uncle Harold or an Uncle Bozo or that crazy uncle that no one mentions except in a whisper. But Bob will WANT to be your uncle if you make him this ham. So go… shoo… buy a ham. Make this on Easter. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Or Christmas. Or for Uncle Bobs birthday.
Orange Marmalade/Brown Sugar Ham
- 1 12 to 17 pound smoked bone in ham
- 1 18 ounce jar orange marmalade
- 1 cup Dijon mustard (I actually used whole grain mustard. I like the texture)
- 1 1/2 cups packs dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves (I subbed 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves right in the glaze. Nothin’ worse than accidentally biting into a whole clove.)
- Preheat oven to 300. Line a heavy roasting pan with a thick layer of heavy duty foil. Trust me on this. Only thing worse than biting into a whole clove is trying t wash a pan that has a glaze from ham cooked onto it.
- Trim any excess fat off of the ham. Or leave it you have people like my son who like it.
- Place ham, fat side up, in the prepared pan. Cut shallow marks across the ham in a diamond pattern and insert a clove into every diamond. Or omit that step and just do the ground cloves in the glaze.
- Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan. Roast ham at 300 degrees for 2 hours if a smaller ham and 2 3/4 hours if on the upper part of that weight scale.
- Take ham out, brush with some of the glaze and return to oven. Increase oven temp to 350 degrees. Continue cooking for about another hour and a half to two hours or until ham reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees, brushing with the glaze about 3 to 4 more times.
- Transfer ham to a serving platter and let rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.