Spring is here and the warm weather is a welcomed change from the long winter. We are all ready to say “goodbye” to the freezing temperatures and “hello!” to warm, sunny skies. With the arrival of spring comes the flavors of the season, as well. Fresh, light, healthy- we are all ready for that change from the heavier winter fare.
Spring marks the celebration of certain religious holidays, including Easter. When you envision Easter, you probably think, Easter eggs, jellybeans, and the traditional Easter ham. Sweet, glazed ham, straight out of mom’s oven, adorned with a plentiful amount of pineapple slices. But why do we pair with pineapple with ham?
This combination has no religious connection at all, rather it from a recipe in a 1925 women’s magazine. Pineapple companies, such as Dole, took out advertising space and created recipe booklet’s for women’s magazines to convince consumers to purchase and cook more with their canned pineapple products. The 1925 recipe was recreated and published in 1926. From there, the popularity of the pairing grew.
I personally love the combination of sweet, succulent pineapple with the slightly salty and tenderly moist ham. Hawaiian pizza? Yes, please! To satiate my recent hankering for some delicious ham, I decided to glaze and bake a boneless ham, but I wanted to take a new spin on the traditional glaze. Insert –> Pineapple Cider.
If you have never cooked with hard cider before, this is a great introduction to incorporating it into your recipes. For the ham, I chose a pineapple hard cider to reduce into a glaze for the meat.
Reducing cider is very simple-you will need two bottles of cider and a small pot. I chose Ace Cider’s Pineapple Hard Cider. Sweet, tart and refreshing, it was the perfect choice for this dish.
You will want to pour the cider into the pan and heat the cider until it begins to boil. Once it starts to boil, you will need to turn down the heat to keep the cider simmering. The reduction will be a slow process, taking approximately 1 hour to complete. You will notice that the cider begins to develop a slightly syrupy texture. Stir the cider every few minutes until one hour has passed. You will be left with the essence of the pineapple cider and the perfect glaze for your spiral ham. Generously pour the reduced cider over the ham, then place the ham into the oven. The cook time will vary for each ham, depending upon its size, so be sure to check the weight of your ham and the cooking time instructions on the ham’s packaging. You will want to place tinfoil over the ham for all but the last 5 minutes of baking. Take the tinfoil off of the ham and let the glaze begin to crisp the ham’s skin.
The result is a sweetly flavored ham that is even more delicious than it looks and this picture makes it look so tempting!
So much ham! What do you do with it all? We had so much leftover that there were endless possibilities. Ham and egg strata is a great example of a fun and easy weekday dish that utilizes your leftovers in under thirty minutes. Eggs, cheese, ham, bread, milk-what could be easier?! Spice up the dish with some chipotle seasoning to create a spicy contrast to the sweet meat.
Let me know your thoughts about this recipe in the comment section below.