Ham has long been a staple main course to serve on Christmas day. (The tradition is believed to have started sometime during the modern era, when a boar's head used to be served.) For those unfamiliar with how to cook this holiday delicacy, or for those who simply need a refresher course, here is an easy five-step recipe for creating the perfect ham for your holiday meal this Christmas:
While there are many different ways ham can be prepared, this recipe pertains to a classic Christmas favorite, the old-fashioned holiday glazed ham. The primary steps in following recipe are provided by FoodNetwork.com.
To make this holiday delicacy, you're going to need: 1 spiral-sliced half ham, 1 20-ounce can of pineapple slices (juice reserved), 1 small jar of maraschino cherries, 3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar and two tablespoons of yellow mustard. (An optional ingredient to add to this recipe is 15-20 whole cloves.)
1. Preheat your oven before you begin preparing your ham. The package your ham comes in should state a preferred oven temperature and cook times but if you're unsure, Chow.com suggest a preheat temperate of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (Another cooking tip from Chow.com -- place your ham on the "lower third" rack of your oven.)
2. Before cooking, it is suggested to keep your ham sitting at room temperature for 30 minutes. If desired, this is also the time to remove any excess fat from your ham.
3. Remove the ham from the oven 30 minutes before its scheduled finishing time. Place the pineapple slices (and cloves, if desired) on the ham, putting the maraschino cherries in the center of the pineapple slices. The fruit can be secured on the meat with toothpicks. Do not put the ham back in the oven just yet.
4. Gather a small-size bowl and combine the brown sugar, mustard and remaining pineapple juice and stir them together. The ingredients should form a glaze. Finish by pouring the glaze over the unfinished ham. When completed, place the ham back in the oven and allow it to cook for 30 more minutes. (Some recipes also call to increase the oven temperature at this point to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.)
5. When your ham is finished cooking, transfer the meat to a cutting board before carving and then, enjoy! (Keep in mind that the suggested overall cook times for this type of ham range from recipe to recipe. TasteofHome.com suggests your meat thermometer should read 140 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.)