Baked Ham was a meal we frequently had on Sundays at my Irish grandparents’ house. It was always delicious and served with Nanny’s tasty creamy coleslaw. (Although I typically prefer coleslaw with oil and vinegar, my Nanny’s creamy coleslaw was a delicious treat!) My Mom also made baked ham for us from time to time and she baked it with a mustard / brown sugar glaze and pineapple slices attached. As kids, we all sure loved those pineapple slices!!
For me, (and probably for lots of people), food definitely generates memories, feelings and notions of family history. As I wrote in a previous post, when I started to do my own cooking, I concentrated on making dishes that my mother and grandmothers did not make. So baked ham was not something I made. However, as my grandmothers left this world and I later moved hours away from the family, I was not close enough to benefit from Mom’s home cooking on a regular basis, so I’d try a few of Mom’s classics. Cooking them for only two people was not always satisfying, so I left the baked ham out for many years – and it was certainly not a dish that was ‘en vogue’ for young home cooks at the time.
This past New Year’s Day, I was looking for a less fussy option for an intimate family dinner that would be hearty, comforting and would not keep me tied to the kitchen. So, I decided to resurrect the baked ham idea. Friends had talked about spiral ham for years. I had never done one, so I thought it was a good time to try it. The spiral ham made me fall in love with baked ham all over again! I did the ham with Mom’s signature pineapple slices and served it with parboiled potatoes that I finished up by roasting in the oven, along with sauteed Brussels sprouts and carrots. It was a big hit and we had tons of leftovers, which made it an economical meal. And, it was certainly a time saver because it gave us other dinners through the week, and was added to breakfasts and also generated a delicious pea soup! Baked ham is a low-fuss dinner to make because it’s already cooked and just needs to be reheated – no need for a meat thermometer and no concerns about cooking it to the correct doneness!
You can cook and prepare the Brussels Sprouts ahead of time and simply reheat them a few minutes before dinner is served. Prepare the potatoes and ham following the instructions below and place both dishes in the oven about 45 minutes before you plan to serve dinner.
Here’s what I did to create this delicious and low-fuss dinner:
- Peel potatoes and parboil them for about 10 minutes until slightly fork tender. You can leave the skin on if you prefer
- Drain and place them in a baking dish. Coat with ⅛ to ¼ cup pineapple juice, a splash of olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper
- Place in oven with the ham for 30 to 40 minutes. (I like doing this to crisp up the outside of the potatoes, as opposed to simply boiled potatoes)
- Make a paste of Dijon mustard and brown sugar and coat the top and sides of the ham with it
- Attach canned pineapple slices all over the ham with toothpicks
- Pour the pineapple juice from the can into the bottom of the roasting pan
- Place the ham on a rack in the roaster and heat at 325 degrees until hot (likely 30 to 45 minutes depending on size)
- Reserve the sauce at the bottom of the roaster and serve in a gravy boat
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts and Carrots
- Wash Brussels sprouts and remove ends with a knife. Slice Brussels sprouts lengthwise. Wash and scrub large carrots and slice into 1-inch pieces.
- Heat about 3 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Toss in Brussels sprouts and carrots and stir to coat
- Add a little salt and pepper
- Cook on medium heat until Brussels sprouts are bright green and fork tender (usually not more than 8 minutes). If the pan is drying up, add a splash of water rather than olive oil to continue cooking. You can also cover with a lid in the last few minutes to speed up cooking time. **Suggestion: If you are not eating them right away, undercook them slightly and they will finish cooking as you reheat them.
- Reheat when ready to serve
Ideas for Leftover Ham
You can always have the same meal again in a few nights, but here are a few other things you can do with the ham:
- Sandwiches for lunch (of course!) – the spiral ham is already nicely sliced so just bag up those slices and freeze in individual portions for easy sandwiches throughout the week
- Chop the ham and any leftover potatoes, Brussels sprouts and carrots. Create a frittata by adding 6 eggs, scrambled to the chopped ham and cook in a medium heat pan on both sides. You may also transfer to the oven to evenly cook the middle. Serve with a salad for a quick and delicious weeknight meal
- Add the chopped ham to your scrambled eggs for what is known in our family as a “ham quickie”….a blast from our past!
- Add the chopped ham to your weekend omelette
- Make a ham, onion and vegetable quiche. (Asparagus would be a great addition at this time of year!). Maybe try a cauliflower crust to make it gluten-free. Serve with a salad and enjoy it for lunch or dinner
- Save the hambone and make delicious pea soup. Look for that recipe in an upcoming blog!
So, if you want a homey dinner without a big fuss, give this all a try and you may fall in love again with baked ham as I have recently!
Enjoy, and feel free to drop me a note to share your tips or let me know how you liked mine!
Happy Cooking friends, and Happy Easter!