Friday, April 06, 2012

Easy Baked Easter Ham

Ham is central to Easter dinner for Ukrainians... along with  kovbasa (Ukrainian garlic sausage), studenetz (headcheese), eggs (of course!), holubtsi (cabbage rolls), noodle casserole, beets & horseradish, and who knows what else!
Natural slow smoked ham and sausages

In the old-country tradition, hams were dried and smoke cured, and required special soaking and cooking.

I vaguely recall this process from my childhood years on the homestead farm just outside of Arran, Saskatchewan.

It was a messy business, especially the soaking in the brine part. But there was always an air of excitement along with the wonderful smell in the air.

The hard work was worth the end result: a delicious shynka (шинка), as ham is called in Ukrainian.

Today’s commercially cured hams are wetter and heavier, and despite the “ready-to-eat” label do require some additional preparation.

Here's Sylvia's recipe which has been featured on Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio and on this blog in the past.

This method is ideal for busy cooks preparing an elegant festive meal.

Easy Baked Easter Ham

Hard boiled eggs and horseradish ... traditional
complements for Ukrainian Easter ham

6-8 lb ready-to-serve smoked ham

For glaze:
¼ c prepared mustard
½ c brown sugar

For baking liquid:
1 ½ cups apple cider
2 whole cloves
1 small bay leaf
1 sprinkle of freshly ground pepper

1. Skin the ham and score the fat in diamond shapes so the glaze will soak in and stick to the ham.

2. Mix the mustard and sugar and spread on the ham. (For extra beauty and flavor, place a clove into each diamond of fat.)

3. Place the ham and other ingredients in a large roaster

4. Bake at 350˚ F for 1 – 1 ½ hours, basting three times during the last half hour of baking.

5. Tent with foil and rest for 15 minutes before carving, if serving warm.

6. Serve hot or cold, thinly sliced with beet relish, mayonnaise with horseradish and/or mustard assortment.

Try it ... It's Ukrainian!

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