Friday, March 16, 2012

Ham for the Man

Our friend Jimmy had his birthday on Wednesday, but we decided to help him celebrate it last night.  We are all avid fans of "30 Rock" and quote it often. One of our favorite themes in the show is how much Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) loves ham. Sometimes she has a plate of ham, other times she just talks about how she is going to eat it.

Luckily, we had some ham on hand. My friend Domica (and her mother Ully) gave me a 7.5 pound ham this week! I have eaten ham in my life, but I don't recall ever really preparing a baked ham. I did some research and gave the following recipe a whirl - and it worked out! We have very little ham left today :)

Sweet Honey Apple Baked Ham
1 Ham (ours was about 7.5 lbs, they vary in poundage)
1 white onion diced in big chunks
3 Green Apples - quartered
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 guinness (you can also use another type of beer or 1 cup of wine or 1 cup of water)
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Ground Cardamon

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees

(You can use a roasting pan (with or without a rack) or a dutch oven for this. I used a dutch oven.)

First, cut the apples into quarters and the onions into large diced sections. Line the bottom of the dutch oven with these.

Next, take the ham and place it on top of the apples and onions. Make diagonal cuts on all sides of the ham (this will help the flavor get into the ham and keep it hydrated). Dump a bottle of Guinness over the ham in the pot. 

Then sprinkle the ham with all the spices and honey - EXCEPT FOR THE BROWN SUGAR (that will come later). Cover the ham with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven. 

Bake low and slow at 150 degrees for 2-4 hours. Each hour, try to flip the ham and baste. 

2 hours before it's ready to serve, turn the heat up to about 275 or 300 degrees. Add the brown sugar directly to the face of the ham with a little more honey and baste. Leave face up for one hour. Then the last hour, take the lid/cover off and let it get crispy. At this point, you may want to keep the basting up to every 15 minutes so that it doesn't dry out. 

The ham is sweet, already salty (don't add it) and yummy. I ate it alone, others ate it with some scoops of juice (which was excellent) and the onions and apples. The apples and onions become very soft and are a nice addition to the ham. 

You can also use pineapple and pineapple juice, but I have never really cared for pineapple and I am pretty sure I am allergic to it - so I try to stay away from it. 

This ham took a while, so you can also put it in a crock pot if you have one that is big enough. If you want to start out at a higher temperature, I think it would take a lot less time, but then you risk it not turning out the way I had it turn out. Decisions. I know. 

For my first ham, this turned out quite well. It was different than other baked ham I've had in my life, but that's what I like to do, take a memory of food, and unlawfully enhance it. Wink face. 

Have a great weekend!!!! Happy Birthday JIMMY! 

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