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Mar 26, 2012 09:06 AM

Help a vegetarian cook her first Easter ham!

I have been a vegetarian since I was 13, so I have very VERY limited experience cooking meat, poultry, or fish of any kind. My husband and I are hosting my in-laws for Easter and a couple of the guests requested ham for Easter. I am planning on buying a pre-cooked spiral sliced ham and either using the glaze that comes with it or mixing my own glaze and serving the ham hot. My problem is I only have one oven, and will need the oven for other things on the menu (fish, vegetable pot pie, roasted vegetables, etc). I was hoping to be able to cook the ham in my crock pot, but I have no idea how to. I tried searching chowhound and google, but haven't found any great directions/recipes yet. I would prefer a tried and true recipe, as I WILL NOT be tasting the ham prior to serving (my husband will gladly taste it though). Another option is to cook the ham so it is finished about an hour before the meal and then take it out of the oven, and keep it warm somehow while the rest of the items are in the oven. I know that pre-cooked ham can be served cold, but I think I'd rather serve it hot unless someone can convince me otherwise. What are your suggestions?

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  1. Spiral hams do not need to be served hot, only warm or room temperature. What you should do is plan to take the ham out of the refrigerator 2-3 hours prior to placing into the oven and 2-4 hours at 225-250* to warm the ham prior to serving, with a one hour holdover time. You can warm the ham with or without the glaze dressed on the ham during the warming phase, but I would recommend you do so after the holdover phase, where you would remove the ham and cover with foil. During this one hour period, you can heat up your sides. Once your sides are completed, place the glazed/sauced ham back into the oven and give it a 10-115 minute high heat blast to caramelize the glaze/sauce. The ham should be plenty hot to serve.

    Here are a couple of threads that should provide you with the basic information you need...

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      Thank you so much for your reply, fourunder! I never thought of serving the ham warm or room temperature, like I said I am not experienced in cooking meat. I really appreciate the timeline advice! The hour holdover should be plenty of time for me to cook the rest of the items. For some reason I didn't see either of those two threads you posted when I originally searched, but they are extremely helpful! Your detailed instructions make me feel much more confident about serving ham to my in-laws.

    2. It is possible to buy spiral cut hams that are already cooked at some stores and also stores that specialize in preparing cooked hams. If you buy one of those hams, all that is needed for you to do is heat it in the oven.

      Keyboard in these key words 'baked ham company' using Google.

      1. Most hams you can buy in the grocery store are pre-cooked, and any spiral ham will almost certainly be pre-cooked. So you are heating the ham, not cooking it. The other things on your menu should not require much time in the oven, so you should be able to heat the ham first per the instructions you get on the ham, wrap it in foil (and optionally hold it in a cooler), then crank up the oven to cook your other food. When that is finished, you can unfoil the ham, glaze it, and heat it until the glaze is the way you want it. If it were me, I would do the glazing during the last 15 minutes of cooking time for the vegetables, fish, etc. That way everything is done at the same time.

        8 Replies
        1. re: bagofwater

          Great suggestion to do the glazing for the last 15 minutes of cooking time for the other dishes. My tofu vegetable pot pie bakes at 400* so that temperature should work for the caramelizing of the glaze, right?

          1. re: kyoules

            That feels right to me. At that temperature it may even be less than 15 minutes.

            1. re: kyoules

              What firmness of tofu do you use for the pie. So far I've only used extra firm tofu in ramen noodle soup which is flavored with spicy chile puree and a little soy sauce. The salty flavor packet is discarded. I know that soy sauce is salty, but I do know use much. I make the puree from scratch, no salt included.

              1. re: ChiliDude

                I usually use firm (sometimes extra firm) tofu, cut in 1/2" to 3/4" cubes, and vary the vegetables by season. This pie is amazing, and what really sets it off is the golden gravy. I've never served it to anyone who didn't LOVE it, and whenever I make it for dinner, my carnivore husband finishes it up before I can even say "I was going to take that to work for lunch tomorrow..." haha :)
                Here is a link to the original recipe by Ruth Blackburn:

                1. re: kyoules

                  Thanks for the link for the tofu pot pie recipe! Sounds delicious!

                  1. re: westcoaststyle

                    Let me know what you think of it! My favorite veggie combination in it is sweet potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, and peas, but we have tried several combinations. I love making a huge batch of small rustic hand pies, wrapping individually in foil and par-cooking, and the stocking the freezer with easy meals for the winter.

                2. re: ChiliDude

                  Sometimes I get distracted and do not edit my replies. I do know how to speak and write American.

                  The statement including the phrase 'but I do know use much' should have read 'but I do not use much' referring to soy sauce.

            2. Do you have a ham rack, something like this?:


              It makes plating and self-serve easy peasy. For 7 bucks plus shipping, you can't beat it.

              I'm also very fond of this glaze from a Cooking Live with Sara Moulton on FoodTV:


              People ask for it ahead of time, so I always make a double batch.

              Last suggestion: A Reynolds cooking bag, turkey-sized, makes a great bag to store leftover hams in if you aren't going to cut it down off the bone right away.

              2 Replies
              1. re: RelishPDX

                Thanks for the ham rack suggestion. I thought I would just cut of enough slices to fill a platter for the table, but this does look like a nice way to serve it. Does this also work for spiral sliced ham?
                The glaze also looks interesting. Does it have a strong espresso taste to it?

                I never would have thought of a cooking bag to store a leftover ham, great suggestion! I think we might cut it in slices since the leftovers will be going to 3 different households, but like I said, I have very little experience with meat so maybe it would be better to leave our portion on the bone rather than slices.

                Thanks so much for all the suggestions, I always learn new things here at CH!

                1. re: kyoules

                  The ham rack works fine for a spiral-sliced ham, in fact, I think the first place I saw one was at a Honeybaked store.

                  The glaze as is has a bit of a coffee taste, but you can adjust it to your preference. This has been my go-to glaze for years now, and no one's tired of it. You get sweet, savory and spicy all in one, adjusted as you like.

                  I actually warm my hams in the Reynolds bag, cutting a couple of drainage holes in it so that the slices near the bottom don't braise. Then I take it out of the bag to glaze and serve, the whole time keeping it on a rack out of any pan liquids. Back into the bag it goes for holding in the fridge until I decide what to do with the leftovers—that allows me to get it out of the way and into a safe storage place while dealing with other items plus clean-up.

              2. To avoid drying out a precooked ham, Cooks Illustrated suggests soaking ham (sealed in plastic) in hot water for 1.5 hours. Then heat at 250°F in oven bag to 100°F internal temperature (1-1.5 hours). Increase oven temperature to 350°F, peel back oven bag, cover with 1/3 glaze, cook 10 minutes to internal temperature 120-140°F. Brush with remaining 1/3 glaze and let rest for 15 minutes. While ham rests, combine remaining 1/3 glaze with ham juice for sauce.

                Edit: Here is a link to the Cooks Illustrated article: