I don’t know know about you, but I’ve never liked those Easter hams with pineapple rings, whole cloves, and maraschino cherry halves.  Who thought that up?  Were June Cleaver and Don Ho scheming global domination through hams?

I also don’t quite know how ham wound up getting associated with Easter, but as my dear old dad would point out, there are lots of things that I don’t know.  I do know that there are some matters that mere mortal men should not meddle in (how do you think we wound up with Godzilla?), so I’m not going to overthink it.  I accept that Easter equals ham and leave it at that.  Personally, I’d rather eat rabbit, but I guess that would be kind of creepy for the wee ones.

And since when do rabbits lay eggs?  I’ve seen what comes out of a rabbit’s rear end, and trust me–that ain’t chocolate.

No wonder our schoolchildren score lower than those in heathen, Easterless countries where people eat monkey brains, worship cows, and are convinced that that snake on the floor is Uncle Ralph.

But I digress.

A lovely Easter ham

Try to find a shank-end spiral-sliced ham.  You’ll also need a big oven bag.

1 bone-in ham (7-10 lbs.)

12 oz. apple jelly

3/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. maple syrup*

3 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

1 cinnamon stick, broken up in an unfussy way

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp. butter (unsalted, as always)

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

*–You may have already heard me, a former Vermont resident, rant about maple syrup.  Generally, Grade B Dark is the best (in my opinion), but you can get away with Grade A or Grade B Light for this recipe.

Get rid of all the plastic wrapping contraptions around the ham (there might be a thingamadoodle covering the end of the bone).  Put the ham in a large oven bag and cut a few slits on the top.  Plonk it into a roasting pan and let it just sit there–on a countertop or whatever–for about an hour and a half.  No oven yet.

All right, now we’re going to bake the ham.  Set your oven rack at its lowest point and its thermostat at 300F.  Clap yer ham in there and let ‘er rock until it has an internal temp of about 100F.  That’ll take about two hours–maybe half an hour more or less, depending on the size of your ham and the accuracy of your oven’s thermostat.

While the ham is doing its thing in the oven, we’re going to make the glaze.  It’s easy.

Bring the apple jelly, a half cup of the brown sugar, the maple syrup, whole grain mustard, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a boil in a little saucepan.  Turn it down to a simmer and let it reduce to about a third of a cup.  Stir it a lot.  It’ll take a while–maybe 45 minutes.  Once it’s done, pluck the cinnamon bits out, take the pan off the heat, and whisk in the butter.  That’s it for the glaze.

Now it’s time to finish up and carve the beast.  You should still have a quarter-cup of  brown left.  Combine that with the dry mustard.  Take the ham out of the oven and let it sit for about five minutes.  Crank your oven up to 400F and cut the bag the ham is in open and peel it back.  Take a pastry brush and paint the ham all over with the glaze.  Use your hands to press the brown sugar/dry mustard mix onto the outside of the ham.  Put it back into the oven for about twenty minutes, then take it out, plonk it onto a cutting board, cover it loosely with foil, and leave it alone for fifteen minutes.  Carve it up and there y’are.

If you’d rather have a peach-glazed ham, let me know.  I can hook you up.

Happy Easter, all.

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