Imagine ham braised in allspice, clove and cinnamon-spiced cider and covered in a delicious cherry-chutney glaze. Yeah, it’s that good.
Several years ago, we visited some relatives for Easter. It was Dudette’s first time meeting some of her extended cousins, aunts and uncles and she had a ball.
For me, a big part of the trip was to help my 70+ year-old aunt prepare the big meal for the hordes that descended upon her house that Sunday afternoon. We had a fantastic time working together in the kitchen. My aunt had a gorgeous pork loin that cooked alongside other vegetables and side dishes, and she she made her signature flan for dessert. It was an amazing meal
But. I learned for the first time what a unique, different branch of family these wonderful folks were from us. When we’re invited somewhere to eat, we eat what’s on the table. There are no special dietary needs or requests, just the hope that food won’t run out before tummies are full.
Not so at my aunt’s gathering. There were vegans, folks with gluten intolerances, seafood-eating vegetarians, and so on and so on. It seemed that as the dinner hour approached, someone else called to express their special need and food request. By the time we sat down for dinner, the table was laden with an array of unique Easter food like I had never seen before.
At my table, we’re gonna have ham (I think).
You’re going to want to hug your Fine Cooking magazine close after this recipe, I promise. The four-page spread covers everything from knowing what cut of ham to buy (and why you want to buy each cut) to how to carve it properly.
In between all that are two cooking methods (roasting and braising) as well as three glazes, all of which sound delicious.
I chose to cider-braise my ham because I had cider and liked the thought of extra moisture that that cooking method would give. So, I poured apple cider in my roaster, added allspice berries, cloves, a cinnamon stick, and my bone-in butt ham. I covered the roaster and slid it all in the oven, then walked away for two hours.
When the time was up, I mixed together cherry preserves, vinegar, and some spices and coated my ham with the cherry-chutney glaze, then let it cook for another 20 minutes, brushing it a couple more time.
As requested by the magazine, the ham sat for half an hour before I allowed the family anywhere near it.
First off, the aroma throughout the house while the ham was cooking was amazing. It was mulled cider with a pork chaser. What’s not to love?
As far as the flavor, however, Dudette, unfortunately, wasn’t a fan. She had been complaining about the fact that she didn’t like ham from the moment I took the meat out of the fridge, so it wasn’t a big surprise.
Hubby and I thought the cider-braised ham was very good. I could taste the flavors from the braise and thought the cherry-chutney glaze did a fantastic job of accenting them. It worked very, very well with the ham too.
I do suggest watching the cooking time closely. I could have probably taken the ham out 15 minutes earlier than I did instead of leaving it in the full two hours.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d cook the ham for 1 hour 45 minutes, not 2 hours.
- 6 cups apple cider
- 1 Tbs. allspice berries
- 1 Tbs. whole cloves
- 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 8- to 10-lb. bone-in butt-end half city ham
- 1 cup cherry preserves
- 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. ground cardamom
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
- Mix all the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the ham cut side down in a large roasting pan (preferably with a domed lid), without using a rack. Add apple cider, allspice berries, whole cloves, and cinnamon stick.
- Cover with the pan’s lid or put a small piece of parchment on top of the ham and then tent with heavy-duty aluminum foil, pinching it over the lip of the roasting pan for a good seal. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat without touching bone registers 130°F, 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
- Remove the pan from the oven; turn the oven temperature up to 375°F. Transfer the ham to a cutting board; remove the rack from the pan. Drain the liquid from the pan and discard, or save it for another use. Set the ham cut side down in the pan. Using a brush, slather the glaze all over the exposed parts of the ham.
- Cook, basting twice, with the glaze until caramelized at the edges and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat without touching bone registers 140°F, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the ham to a carving board and let rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before carving.
- Transfer any glaze from the bottom of the pan to a gravy boat or bowl and serve with the ham, if you like.
What do you typically serve on Easter Sunday? I’d love to make a leg of lamb, but our budget may not agree with me this year. Pork loin always goes over well too, especially if Dudette’s on an anti-ham campaign this time around. Any other suggestions would be very welcome!