Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baked Country Ham and Scalloped Pineapple

Today's recipes can be used for a holiday dinner - I make them for both Christmas Day and Easter - or you can use them as buffet items anytime of year for any occasion.  Both are simple and tasty, though both on the sweet side!  My husband loves the ham gravy that is made from the ham drippings even more so than the actual ham, I think.  I have tried different main courses for Christmas, such as a standing rib roast, which I love, but my husband always asks me to go back to this, so this is what it will be this year.. 

I was one of Martha Stewart's original fans.  I bought her first book, Entertaining, when it came out in 1982.  The ham recipe is from that book and I have been making it for almost 30 years!  Did you not just swoon over her first house, Turkey Hill?  I always thought it was just the most divine home - a mixture of a historic home and antiques.  I used to love her first specials on PBS and then her original syndicated series.  I think I still have some of those shows on VCR tapes!  Anyway, if you love ham, you'll like this recipe.

The scalloped pineapple recipe is from the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi's cookbook, Southern Sideboards.  It is a Southern Living Hall of Fame book, originally published in 1978.  I have the 1992 edition - its 10th printing.  The recipe is attributed to Mrs. Samuel H. White, Jr.  It is perfect with ham and a great casserole dish.  I usually make it a day ahead and just reheat it while the ham is resting before carving.  My son-in-law is usually not a big fan of my "Michigan farm" cooking, but he loves this dish!  I learned to cook as a young bride over 36 years ago while living on my in-laws' farm.  My husband is 6'8", as are his brothers and the rest of his family is not puny either, so I learned to cook big, hearty, traditional meals for big, strapping guys.  I don't know how to do it any other way.

I hope your family enjoys these dishes as much as mine does!

Baked Country Ham

1 14-pound ham
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry sherry (I always use apple cider instead)
1/4 cup honey
!/4 cup Dijon mustard

I won't give you all the cooking instructions for the ham, as I always just use a Smithfield ham from Publix and just follow their instructions.  I will give you the glazing instructions, as that is the important thing.

At the beginning of the last hour of cooking the ham, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Spoon one third of the glaze over the ham.  Bake 20 minutes and spoon another one third over the ham.  Bake an additional 20 minutes and spoon the remaining one third over the ham.  Finish baking. 

Remove ham from oven to rest and prepare to make the gravy.  We normally skim off most of the fat from the drippings/liquid and heat to boiling on top of the stove.  Add in your mixture of water and cornstarch for thickening and cook until it is the consistency of the type of gravy you like.  Serve over mashed potatoes or just as an accompaniment to the ham.  (Did you notice I said "we"?  Holidays are the one time my husband likes to cook in the kitchen.  He is always in charge of making the gravy.  I'm not sure why, he just is!)

Scalloped Pineapple

4 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks (I use crushed pineapple.  I like the consistency better.)
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted

Toss together bread crumbs and pineapple and place in a greased 2-quart baking dish.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over pineapple.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serves 8.

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