Help! I've Got a Ham for Christmas!
And don't know what to do with it. It's a 17lb bone-in smoked ham--a very generous gift, I'm sure--but it comes with NO instructions. I'm pretty sure I'll have to take the plastic sealer-wrap off, but then what? Is it raw and in need of cooking? Is it pre-cooked and only in need of oven warming? There seems to be a rind on it--remove before cooking/heating? Should it get an overnight soak in water (or, per a neighbor, 7Up or ginger ale)to remove some of the salt?
What I have in mind is serving it like the hams I used to see in magazine ads years ago--studded with whole cloves, pineapple rinfs with cherries in the middle, that sort of thing (Ironically, those were, I believe, ads for CANNED hams.)
Any assistance for its preparation, not to mention appropriate and
delicious side dishes, will be received with intense but not clingy gratitude.
Yeah, the ham thing is a royal pain to figure out. The fancy foil wrapping never has instructions, so you are mostly clueless unless your household are veteran ham eaters.
First, you need to determine if your ham is "ready to eat" (like supermarket spiral sliced hams or country hams like smithfield), or a fresh ham that needs cooking (I bought one of these on sale from the supermarket for Thanksgiving, cooked to 160m and boy was it good). Since you stated "smoked" was on the label, it is fully cooked and you can simply open up the package and eat.
On the other hand, the flavor is improved if you heat to 120 in a medium oven and rest for 1/2 hour. Plus, the skin gets hard and chewy, and that would be the part I prefer.
These big hunks of meat are not good for fancy decorative presentations that I have ever figured out, since they are big, sloping, pyramids of meat. I guess you could take a sharp knife and cross hatch the skin, then stick a clove in each square before baking.
Cut off a piece and try it. You should be able to tell if you need to cook it or not.
does it look like this? http://sausagenyc.com/products.html
350 for a half an hour or so, covered, so it doesn't dry out. Gut feeling says that you should just need to reheat it, but as mentioned above, it could be served room temperature as well. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and saurkraut. Baked or sauteed apples might be nice too. Something green...
I vote for saurkraut as an accompaniment - you can heat the ham up wtih the kraut ringing it, in a roasting pan. The tartness of kraut goes wonderfully with the saltiness of the meat, and the cooking juices drip into the kraut, adding more flavor. Be sure to serve mashed potatoes or some sort of bread, so you have a mild dish to balance out all that richness.
Yah, you should be able to tell by the nature of the skin and fat layers if it's cooked already. If the skin is more brown, with all kinds of cracks (the fat will have shrunk a bit), and the meat is a more muted red, then it's likely cooked. If the skin and meat are kinda shiny and the ham is probably not cooked.
This link has some decent pictures of both:
I happen to like ham without any frills. If it's cooked already, just heat it and eat. If it's un-cooked, then just roast it without any fancy rubs or glazes. I don't mind that stuff, but I think ham can hold it's own!
If it is a smoked ham there is a good chance its already cooked and your just browning it up. For a crunchy top- rub with brown sugar mixed with clove and allspice. You can add pineapples to it.
We love our ham with raisin sauce so if you wnat that when cooking I add canned pineapples (either rings or cubes) to the pan. I also add the juice (so make sure its the real juice/not syrup) Towards the end of the cooking add some raisins so they plump.
I then make a slurry using cornstarch and once the ham is out of the oven I take the drippings and pour into saucepan then let it boil. I then remove from heat and whisk in the slurry until it thickens... crowds love it...