Monday, April 20, 2009

Perfect Glazed Ham in a CROCKPOT

This is the half we had left after our Easter meal...
The title's a bit misleading, because I did brush a last layer of glaze on this as soon as we arrived home. 20 minutes in the oven is all it took, though!

In the last 7 1/2 years of marriage, I've baked my fair share of succulent holiday hams. This year was no exception, except that John had to work Easter Sunday afternoon. We had roughly an hour from the time we arrived home from church to the time he had to leave for work. This complicated things, but I still wanted a feast, which is why, with trepidation, I found myself looking for "Crockpot Ham" instructions on Google the night before.

The next morning, I slapped together a brown-sugar glaze, slathered it over the ham, stuffed it in the crockpot, and left for church, almost dreading what I'd find when I returned. We love baked ham, and I was pretty sure that crockpot ham just wasn't going to cut it.

No worries. It was juicy, flavorful, and downright delicious. Millie said she wants crockpot ham next year, too. (!) John, a ham connoisseur and great lover off all things pig, gave it two thumbs up. Whew!

So, here's a recipe for the day that you're in a pork pinch-- a day when you want oven ham but can't have it. Then, if you like it, give me five! If you hate it, forget you ever knew me.

The ham is ham. Always good.

The glaze is a finger-lickin', sweet-savory mixture of sugar, mustard, and aromatic spice.

One eight-pound ham, bone-in and NOT spiral sliced. A spiral sliced ham will dry out with the prolonged cooking time, and a ham with bone-in will retain its juices better.

1 and 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. dry mustard, to taste
some honey (2-3 tablespoons?)
ground cloves, to taste (I shook pretty liberally)
I believe I sprinkled on a touch of allspice, too
a few tablespoons of orange juice, if desired
about 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, if desired, to taste

Mix all ingredients together. I added orange juice and Dijon mustard so make a thick paste. Spread on the bottom of the crockpot and rub all over the ham. Place in crockpot, cover with lid, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Crockpots vary in temperature. Ours was easily ready in 6 hours. Don't overcook, or the ham will become dry.

If desired, remove ham from crockpot after about 6 hours and place in a large baking dish. Mix a few tablespoons of cornstarch with a small amount of cold water until dissolved. Pour the juices from the crockpot into a saucepan and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Brush some of the mixture over the ham and bake an additional 15-20 minutes in a hot oven until the glaze has baked nicely onto the surface, brushing on a coat of glaze every 5 minutes or so. Remove ham from oven and tent with tin foil. Let sit for about 15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before slicing. Use the additional glaze from the saucepan to pour on served ham, if desired.

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