I'm always fussing with my baked ham recipe, looking to perfect the time-honored combination of rich smoky ham and sweet-tangy pineapple. I think I can stop experimenting now, because this version is just right. Always start with the best ham you can find, which should have a minimum of additional flavorings or glazes. I go out of my way to buy a shank-end half ham from a Polish butcher whose product is highly regarded, and it is worth the trip.
Make Ahead: The ham is best baked right before serving.
One 9-pound shank-end smoked ham, on the bone
Pineapple Chutney Glaze:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (use the large holes on a box grater)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced, or more to taste
2 garlic cloves, crushed through a press
1 cup pineapple preserves
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil (this ensures easy cleanup) and lightly oil the foil.
2. Using a sharp knife, trim off all of the skin, leaving a 1- to 2-inch band around the shank. Trim off all of the fat, leaving a less than 1/4-inch thick layer. Score the fat into a diamond pattern. Place the ham in the pan, with the cut, flat side down and the shank pointing straight up. Pour 3 cups of water into the pan.
3. Bake the ham, basting occasionally with the water in the pan, until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham without touching the bone reads 125°F, about 2-1/2 hours.
4. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, stirring often, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, jalapeno, and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the pineapple preserves and mustard. Heat to melt the preserves, stirring often. Set aside.
5. Remove the ham from the oven and generously brush the ham with the glaze. Return the ham to the oven and bake until the glaze is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. The internal temperature should be around 135°F - the temperature will rise 5 degrees or so as the ham rests outside of the oven.
6. Transfer the ham to a carving board or platter. Let stand for 15 to 45 minutes before carving.
Excerpted from Celebrations 101 by Rick Rodgers (Broadway Books, 2004). © 2004 by Rick Rodgers.
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