Holiday ham was the last thing I wanted to eat at any holiday feast. It was always too salty and/or too sweet – you couldn’t taste the meat. But I adore those old-fashioned cookbooks picturing huge chunks of glazed ham topped with oranges or pineapples ‘nailed’ with cloves. I almost could smell that ham. I was always dreaming about cooking this fruity-glass ham, not salty, not cloyingly sweet, but mouthwatering delicious.
When I watched Jacques Pepin cooking smoked ham glazed with maple syrup I realized that it was time to make that miracle ham I was dreaming of.
I will be short – the ham turned out incredibly tasty. This holiday dish really makes the Holiday.
For best results and easier preparation, poach the ham a day ahead, keep it refrigerated; next day bake the ham before serving.
Put the ham in a large pot, cover it with hot water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to lowest, and simmer, uncovered, for about 1½ hours. Let the ham rest in the water until lukewarm. Remove the ham from the water and refrigerate over night.
Bring the ham to room temperature (let it sit on a counter for about 45 minutes).
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
Loosen the skin from around and underneath the ham. But leave the rind on.
Transfer the trimmed ham on a roasting pan. In a bowl, mix together the maple syrup, ketchup, chili sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Brush the ham generously with the sauce.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Brush the ham again with the sauce. You may need to cover the ham with foil on fat exposed parts. Cook for 15-20 minutes more.
Remove the ham from the oven. Cut of any burnt fat, if you have one. Brush with the sauce, slightly cool, slice and serve.
Cook with pleasure and enjoy the world!