Friday, May 30, 2014

Whatever's-In-Your-Kitchen Ham Sauce Recipe

Recently, I looked for an easy ham glaze recipe for my almost 11-pound fully cooked ham. This ham contrasts with the one I prepared and blogged about early last year—"New Year Ham Day". That ham was not quite 9 pounds, spiral-sliced, and included a packet of ham glaze, which amounted to a pound.

In my quest for a reasonably uncomplicated recipe for a ham glaze, my eyes glazed over so many recipes that called for ingredients that sometimes overlapped. The biggest commonality was sweet stuff—brown sugar, honey, syrup, juice, …. Non-sweet ingredients included soy sauce and mustard. Instead of coming up with a glaze, I wound up with ham sauce. More on that further down.

Just prepping the ham with pineapple slices and cherries was a much bigger hassle than with the spiral ham. I kept breaking toothpicks because so many wouldn't go into the ham gracefully.

I speared all the pineapple slices and cherries, and foil-covered the decorated ham. The foil was not easy to handle. It kept easily breaking between the toothpicks piercing it and my trying to gingerly wrap the open sides. I decided to skip the step of needing to open the foil, pour glaze, and rewrap a half-hour before finish time.

I looked for prospective ingred8ients for making some sort of sauce. It was like a treasure hunt in my fridge. Behold, the following list!
  • Honey-flavored sauce from a fast-food place that used to provide real honey (two squeeze packets)
  • Pancake syrup from yet another fast-food place (one 2-oz container)
  • BBQ sauce from another fast-food place (one double-size squeeze packet)
  • Bottled BBQ sauce (yes, about 1 oz, poured into the pan without measuring)
  • Bottled yellow mustard (two squirts into the pan without measuring)
  • Juice from jar cherries (from the 10-oz jar—labeled as 4.1 drained weight)
  • Juice from canned pineapple rings (from the 20-oz can, no info on drained weight)
Note: I skipped using soy sauce, as ham is plenty sodium-loaded as is. I also passed on using additional honey that I had on hand.

I gently boiled the sweet stuff, BBQ sauces, and the mustard together in a small saucepan to reduce the liquid to about half its original volume, occasionally stirring and mixing with a wire whip. In a glass cup, I stirred together about a third cup each of cornstarch and water. With the liquid at a reasonably rolling boil, I wirewhipped in the cornstarch mixture until the sauce thickened. (I tossed the excess cornstarch mixture.)

Mmmm, the sauce came out tasty for pouring onto ham slices. Takeaways from my quest for ham glaze/sauce recipes:
  1. Google the topic (ham glaze).
  2. Note the kinds of ingredients (sweeteners, mustard, etc.).
  3. Gently boil the fluid down to concentrate the flavors.
  4. If necessary to attain thickening, mix up some cornstarch-and-water paste, and mix it into the gently boiling liquid.
For would-be ham preparers: Spiral-sliced hams are a lot easier to serve up than unsliced ones. If unfamiliar with ham-and-bone anatomy, it can be a bit of a hassle navigating the knife around fat, bone, and gristle to get the meat. One other difference between this ham and the spiral-sliced ham: This one had the skin, and trimming it off added some unexpected extra time meeded for meal preparation.

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