This time of year is great for making large meals for family gatherings or to have plenty of leftovers to last through the week. With the abundance of harvested autumn fruits, there is a wonderful variety of recipes that bring together meat and fruits in one dish. Cider-baked ham is a great main course for any meal. The combination of sweetness from the cider lends balance and juiciness to the meat without making it too sweet.
Makes about 18-24 servings.
1 (8 to 10 lb) bone-in ham, cured
1 cinnamon stick, roughly chopped
½ tsp whole cloves
2-3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 quarts apple cider
Large roasting pan or oven bag
Stockpot or bucket large enough to hold all ingredients
Remove skin and trim some fat from ham. Using a sharp knife, score the ham in a crosshatch pattern and let ham rest.
In a large saucepan or stockpot, toast cinnamon stick and cloves over medium heat about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups apple cider and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add 4 cups apple cider, stir and let cool. Add ham to the cider mixture (liquid should cover ham, or come close to covering), cover and let set for 4-12 hours in the refrigerator.
Place ham in large oven bag or roasting pan and discard liquid. Let ham sit and come to room temperature, about 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake ham 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours or until internal temperature reaches 100 degrees. While ham is cooking, bring to a boil the remaining apple cider (about 4 cups) and Dijon mustard. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.
Remove ham from oven and let rest while preparing the next step. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine brown sugar and pepper. Brush ham with cider-mustard mixture and then coat the ham with the brown sugar and pepper, pressing it into the ham with your hands (being careful, as the ham will be warm). Place the ham back in the oven for 20-30 minutes until outside of ham forms a dark caramelized crust.
Remove ham from oven and let rest about 10 minutes before carving.
This ham pairs well with slow-roasted root vegetables . While vegetables are roasting, you can brush on a little of the cider-mustard mixture to glaze them.