tried and true.

Have you decided what you are cooking for Christmas dinner?

If you haven’t, might I recommend this ham?

I really can’t say enough good things about it, so I will leave it at this:

It’s perfect.

I made it for our Christmas dinner last year, and it was so good that I made it again this past Easter. I would have been quite happy to make it again for Thanksgiving, had my husband not observed mildly, “You know, I don’t actually LOVE ham.”

A shocking statement, to be sure, but I rallied in October and made a luscious leg of lamb instead.

I had grand plans for a different sort of beast this Christmas as well (crown roast of pork? Filet de boeuf?), because we are having some extra special guests and I do still sometimes, albeit very occasionally, feel the urge to put my hard-earned flashy cooking skills to good use and make something complicated and impressive for a festive occasion.

But as the big day draws alarmingly near, and I continue to hobble through my days encumbered by crutches and a cast (funny story…), this tried-and-true and utterly delectable ham is starting to look like the winner.

I am thinking of this for one of my sides, and my daughter, who has lately become a bit of a francophile thanks to her infatuation with the Madeline stories, has requested buche de noel for dessert.

But that’s as far as I’ve got. I am stymied, as ever, by vegetables. I feel I need at least two to make this dinner into a veritable feast.

What about you? What will you be eating for the big day, and (equally importantly) the manic week that precedes it? Any snappy sides to recommend?

Do tell!

Thyme and Honey Glazed Ham
from Gourmet, April 2009

I use a ham about half this size, and reduce the cooking time roughly by half as well. Other than that, I follow the recipe to the letter (can you believe it?)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 (12-to 14-pounds) boneless or semiboneless fully cooked ham at room temperature 1 hour
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup mild honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter with thyme and let stand until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third.

Peel off and discard any rind or skin from ham, leaving 1/4 inch of fat on ham. Score fat on top of ham in a crosshatch pattern without cutting into meat. Put ham on a rack in a large roasting pan. Cover ham with parchment paper, then cover roasting pan with foil. Bake 1 3/4 hours.

Meanwhile, boil vinegar in a small saucepan until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Remove from heat and whisk in honey, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme butter. Let honey glaze stand until ham has baked 1 3/4 hours.

Discard foil and parchment from ham. If there is no liquid in roasting pan, add 1 cup water (liquid will prevent glaze from burning in pan). Brush ham with half of honey glaze, then bake, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Brush with remaining glaze and bake until glaze is deep golden-brown and ham is heated through, about 30 minutes more.

One Comment on “tried and true.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Going by the old axiom that everything is better with bacon, I suggest this for a festive side: might just skip the brussels sprout part. Hmmm..bacon and ham might be just too much pig on your table though. Anyhoo, just a thought.

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