Turkey may be the star of the holiday table, but I would never dream of hosting a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without a ham as well. With both on the menu you satisfy everyone’s wants for a great holiday meal with both red meat and poultry, as long as you’ve got a good vegetarian dish somewhere in the mix, you’ve covered all the bases. Since these meals usually turn into a grazing frenzy later in the day, or at least they do when I host them, everyone gets to sample a little of everything before they’re done, and everyone leaves happy.
This year I picked up a spiral sliced ham by accident. I generally go for a full bone in shank, marinade it overnight in a combination of wine, onions, garlic and herbs and then cook it in an oven bag. It’s probably one of my most tried-and-true recipes to date. This year I didn’t have that option.
If you’ve ever cooked a spiral sliced ham, you’ll know that they don’t come out of the oven in a very attractive manner. (See images below.) The advantage they do have is the ability to soak up the glazes and sauces that they are cooked with, which enhances the flavor of the finished product immensely. Since pork and apple are the perfect combination, I chose to make a glaze from apples and Merlot. A choice that worked out incredibly well.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
Even though I’m not a huge fan of spiral sliced hams, I have to admit that this turned out beautifully, and that it is something that I would make in the future. The next time I may choose an apple cider over the Merlot, but even then, any good fruity wine would be enough to bake the glaze a wonderful counterpoint to the rich flavors of the ham itself.
I hope you’ll give this a go for your holiday table, it was definitely a hit at ours!