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Baked Ham with Mojo Sauce and Papaya Salsa is one of many ways to spice up your traditional Easter ham with fruit glazes, sauces and chutneys.
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Baked Ham with Mojo Sauce and Papaya Salsa is one of many ways to spice up your traditional Easter ham with fruit glazes, sauces and chutneys.

Dress up your HAM

By Patrice Stewart
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2446

It's time to go hunting for the perfect centerpiece of your Easter table.

No, not Easter eggs — the ham. Now is the time, before the egg-coloring and hiding begin, to choose a ham and sift through your recipes to decide what flavor you'd like to give it by adding a glaze, sauce, chutney or salsa.

Just as cooks can jazz up their potatoes and rice with cheeses, herbs and condiments, they can change the beat of the typical baked ham, too. Sure, pineapple, brown sugar and raisins are good, but a lot of new variations are out there: apricots, papayas, peaches, apples, cherries, the juice of limes and lemons, apple cider, honey, soy sauce, wine, almonds and pecans.

Speed preparation by using preserves from a jar, or go all out and make your own chutney to serve with your ham.

And don't forget to try seasonings and herbs for extra flavor, such as ground cardamom, thyme and peppercorns.

National Pork Board pairs red wine, cracked black peppercorns, thyme and other ingredients for a ham with Cabernet-Peppercorn Glaze; using cabernet sauvignon gives a burnished glaze, while trying pinot noir makes the glaze a bit fruitier. Either way, the alcohol evaporates in the cooking but leaves a good flavor.

Want to give your ham some mojo? Another Pork Board recipe combines dry white wine with brown sugar, Dijon mustard and cloves for baking, while adding Mojo Sauce made with orange and lime juices, white wine vinegar, cumin, garlic and onion. A Papaya Salsa is served with it.

"Ham is traditionally the star of the Easter feast, but you don't have to serve the same ham from year to year," said Pamela Johnson, director of consumer communications for the National Pork Board. "Experiment with your ham this holiday by adding a twist to your traditional recipe."

Parade food editor and cookbook author Sheila Lukins designed this menu to add flavor and flare to the Easter table: Baked Ham with Mojo Sauce, topped with Papaya Salsa and served with Gingered Candied Carrots. And if you have leftover ham, you can give it an encore in Chopped Salad with Ham and Goat Cheese.

Here are those recipes and more. To order "Ham 365: Enjoy Ham All Year" or the Pork Board's new brochure, "Celebrate Ham! Special Occasion Recipes," visit the Web site: and click on "freebies." You can also send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Celebrate Ham Special Occasion Recipes, National Pork Board, P.O. Box 9114, Des Moines, IA 50306.

Baked Ham with Mojo Sauce

4 cups Mojo Sauce (see recipe)

1 bone-in ready-to-eat ham (14 to 16 pounds)

About 16 whole cloves

2 to 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cups dry white wine

Papaya Salsa for serving (see recipe)

Prepare Mojo Sauce ahead of time. Set aside 2 cups of the sauce for serving.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place ham in shallow roasting pan; score a diamond pattern about 1/8-inch thick into the upper surface of the ham. Insert a clove at the crossed points of the diamonds.

Brush the ham with the mustard and sprinkle it with the brown sugar. Pour 1 cup of the Mojo Sauce over the top. Bake in the center of the heated oven for 2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion (not touching bone) registers 140 degrees degrees (about 15 to 18 minutes per pound). Baste every 20 to 30 minutes, alternating with 1/4 cup each white wine and remaining Mojo Sauce.

Transfer ham to platter. Let stand 15 minutes; slice and serve with the reserved 2 cups of Mojo Sauce and Papaya Salsa. Serves 20 to 25.

Mojo Sauce:

16 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 cup finely slivered onion

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups fresh orange juice (from three or four oranges)

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 2-3 limes)

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, combine garlic, onion, cumin and salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the orange juice, lime juice and vinegar and cook another 5 minutes for the flavors to blend. Cool to room temperature. Makes 4 cups.

Papaya Salsa:

2 ripe papayas (1 pound each)

2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 tablespoon seeded, finely chopped jalapeno pepper

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

Finely grated zest of 2 limes

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

Peel and seed the papaya and cut it into 1/4-inch dice. Place in a medium-size bowl. Gently fold the tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro and lime zest into the papaya. Toss in the lime juice. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use (no longer than 4 hours). Makes about 4 cups.

Gingered Candied Carrots

18 medium-sized carrots, peeled

4 cups canned chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups water (more if needed)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons finely minced crystallized ginger

2 teaspoons ground ginger

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Halve the carrots lengthwise and cut into 1-inch length. Place in a large saucepan with the broth and water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook the carrots 13 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return the carrots to the pot.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup and the crystallized and ground ginger. Pour the butter mixture over the carrots and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, to warm through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10. Chopped Salad with Ham and Goat Cheese

8 ounces thinly sliced ham, cut into bite-size strips

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1/2 teaspoon 5-spice powder or curry powder

1/2 cup pecan halves

1/4 cup bottled oil and vinegar salad dressing or Italian salad dressing

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 10-ounce package Mediterranean-style or Italian-style torn, mixed salad greens

1/2 small cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 cup fresh pea pods, halved crosswise

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 ounces semi-soft goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in 5-spice powder. Add pecans; cook and stir until nuts are toasted. Set aside. Combine salad dressing and sherry in a screw-top jar. Set aside.

Combine salad greens, ham, cucumber, pea pods, tomatoes and toasted pecans in a large salad bowl. Shake salad dressing mixture to combine; pour over greens mixture. Toss till coated. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese. Serves 6.

Baked Ham with Cabernet-Peppercorn Glaze

6- to 8-pound smoked, bone-in ham (shank portion)

2 cups cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir

2 tablespoons finely chopped cipollini onions or shallots

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

5 tablespoons honey

1 cup canned reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine wine, onion and thyme in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside 1 cup wine mixture for serving sauce.

Place ham in shallow baking pan; score by making diagonal cuts, about 1/8-inch thick, in a diamond pattern in surface of ham. Sprinkle with pepper and rub into surface cuts with fingers. Brush ham with 3 tablespoons honey.

Pour 1/4 cup of remaining wine mixture over ham. Bake ham in center of 350-degree oven for 1 to 2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion (not touching bone) registers 140 F. (about 15 to 18 minutes per pound), basting every 30 minutes with 1/4 cup more of remaining wine mixture.

Remove ham from oven. Transfer ham to cutting board. Loosely cover with foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Discard wine mixture in pan.

Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup reserved wine mixture and chicken broth in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until mixture is reduced to 1 cup. Stir cornstarch into remaining 1/2 cup reserved wine mixture, then stir mixture into hot wine-broth mixture. Add 2 tablespoons honey and butter. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Apricot-Glazed Ham

5-pound fully cooked whole boneless ham

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2/3 cup apricot nectar

Place ham on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 325-degree oven for 11/4 hours or until meat thermometer registers 140 degrees (about 15 to 18 minutes per pound).

For the glaze, in a small saucepan combine brown sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in apricot nectar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.

Brush ham with glaze. Continue baking 15 to 20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with glaze. Serves 20.

Ham with Peach Chutney

4-pound fully-cooked boneless ham

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 16-ounce can peach slices in natural juices, drained

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup minced onion

1 teaspoon pickling spices

Place ham in a shallow pan and roast in 325-degree oven until meat thermometer inserted reads 140 degrees (about 1 to 21/4 hours). Slice ham thinly to serve; serve with peach chutney on the side. Serves 16.

To make Peach Chutney, chop peaches coarsely. Combine all ingredients in large saucepan; simmer 20 minutes until thickened slightly. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Serve cold or at room temperature with baked ham. Makes about 16 2-tablespoon servings.

Glazed Ham with Cherry Caramelized Onions

3-pound cooked boneless ham

1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard

5 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (5 cups)

1/2 cup dried tart cherries

4 tablespoons honey, divided

1/4 cup almonds, sliced or slivered and toasted

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place ham on rack in shallow baking pan. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer registers 140 degrees (15 to 18 minutes per pound).

Meanwhile, for glaze, in a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon mustard. Brush ham with glaze during the last 5 minutes of baking.

To caramelize onions, cook onions in a covered Dutch oven in hot butter over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until onions are just tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in toasted almonds. Slice ham; serve with onion mixture. Serves 10.

Glazed Ham with Pecan Crust 10-pound cooked ham, bone in

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cups finely chopped pecans

2 cups apple cider

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Insert meat thermometer into center of ham without touching bone. Place ham in baking dish and pour cider over. Roast in oven, basting with cider every 30 minutes for a total cooking time of 2 hours (15 to 18 minutes per pound), or until thermometer registers 140 degrees.

Meanwhile, in bowl, combine brown sugar, mustard and pecans. Remove ham from oven during the last 40 minutes and firmly pat the sugar pecan mixture all over the ham. Return to oven and continue roasting until crust is brown and ham is done.

Slice and serve with sauce. Some of the topping falls into the sauce, making it the perfect accompaniment to ham. Makes 20 to 25 servings.

Ham with Fruit Glaze

2- to 3-pound fully cooked smoked boneless ham

1/2 cup fruit preserves (such as peach or apricot)

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Heat ham in oven according to package directions, about 15 to 18 minutes per pound in a 350-degree oven. In small bowl, stir together preserves and mustard. Brush over sides of ham during last 15-20 minutes of heating. Slice enough ham to serve; wrap and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

Crock-pot tip: Heat small boneless ham in slow cooker, with 1/4 cup water, on low setting for 5 to 6 hours.

Honey-Orange Glazed Ham

8-pound fully-cooked boneless ham

1 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For glaze, in a small bowl combine orange juice, honey, cinnamon and cloves; mix well.

Place ham on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast in a 325-degree oven for 2 hours, or until meat thermometer registers 140 degrees (15-18 minutes per pound), basting with the honey glaze during the last 45 minutes. Serves 24.

Peach-Glazed Country Ham

10-14 pound country-style ham

Pecan halves

2/3 cup peach jam or preserves

Using a stiff brush, thoroughly scrub the ham. Place in a large pot; cover with water and soak for 12 to 24 hours, changing water several times. Drain. Cover ham with fresh water and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes per pound. Ham is done when flat bone moves easily.

Lift ham from simmering liquid and remove to drain over sink. When ham is cool enough to handle, place on a large shallow roasting pan, jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Remove the rind with a sharp knife, leaving 1/4-inch-thick layer of fat. Score the ham at 1-inch intervals.

Spread with peach preserves and dot with pecan halves. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the glaze browns. Transfer ham to a serving platter and cool slightly. To serve, cut ham into paper-thin slices. Serves 50.

Side tips:

When going on your Easter ham hunt, here are some tips from cookbook author Sheila Lukins to help you find the ham that best fits your tastes and preferences:

— Choose between boneless or bone-in ham. All varieties are one or the other. While bone-in hams are traditionally seen as more elegant and boneless ones are considered easier to serve, both have the same mouth-watering taste. Bone-in hams are available in a variety of shapes — whole or as a shank or butt half — and typically serve 2 to 3 people per pound. Boneless hams, recognizable by label and heavy plastic or foil wrapping, keep for several weeks in their original packaging in the refrigerator. A boneless ham will yield roughly 4 to 5 servings per pound.

—Select a cooked or uncooked ham. Almost all hams come fully cooked, as noted on the label. If desired, cooked hams can be served directly from the refrigerator without heating. To serve hot, simply unwrap and heat to an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Uncooked hams should be heated to an internal temperature of 160 degrees; they typically require 20 to 30 minutes per pound at 350 degrees to heat.

—Pick from dry or wet-cured ham. Hams are labeled according to the amount of water added to them curing during, which is a simple process of preserving meat. Hams are either dry-cured with salt and spices rubbed into the meat's surface, or wet-cured with a brine solution. Dry-curing is often used for country-style and specialty hams, while wet-cured hams are a favorite choice for dinnertime centerpieces and everyday sandwiches.

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