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Baked Ham with Cherry-Pomegranate Glaze & Pan Sauce

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Serves twelve to fourteen

  • To learn more, read:
    How to Buy a Ham
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 85

  • 1 half-ham, preferably bone-in (7 to 9 lb.)
  • 1-1/4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup kirschwasser or other cherry liqueur
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried tart cherries
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbs. water
Bake the ham:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Trim away any skin and external fat to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Set the ham fat side up and score the fat 1/4 inch deep with diagonal slices every 2 inches so that it forms a cross-hatched diamond pattern.

Set the ham in a sturdy roasting pan or a baking dish. It should fit fairly snugly with only a couple of inches of space on any side. Add 1 cup of the pomegranate juice, plus enough water to reach a 1/4-inch depth. Bake, adding water as needed to maintain 1/4 inch of liquid in the pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the ham registers 105° to 110°F, 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours (it should take about 15 minutes per pound).

While ham is baking, gently warm 1/4 cup of the cherry preserves in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Stir in the mustard and brown sugar to combine.

Brush with the glaze:

Remove the ham from the oven and raise the temperature to 425°F. Add more water to the pan so the liquid is about 1/2 inch deep. Using a large spoon or pastry brush, smear the glaze generously over the top of the ham. Return the pan to the oven (even if it hasn't reached 425°F yet) and bake until the glaze on the ham bubbles and begins to darken, 10 to 15 min; the ham should have an internal temperature of 120° to 125°F.

Remove the ham from the oven and transfer to a carving board or large platter. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes while you make the pan sauce. During this period, the ham's internal temperature should rise to 130° to 140°F.

Make the sauce:

Pour the pan juices into a gravy separator or a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to allow any fat to rise and then pour or spoon off the fat and discard (some hams don't exude much fat).

In a 2-qt. saucepan, combine the kirschwasser, dried cherries, and the remaining 1/4 cup pomegranate juice. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pan juices and the remaining 1/4 cup cherry preserves. Taste the sauce, and if the flavor isn't as intense as you'd like, continue to boil to concentrate the flavors as desired.

Stir in about half the cornstarch mixture (called a slurry), and whisk until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 seconds. Add more of the slurry for a thicker sauce. Set aside and keep warm while the ham rests.

Carve the ham, arrange on a platter, and serve with the sauce alongside. 

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 14 servings; Calories (kcal): 320; Fat (g): fat g 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 4; Protein (g): protein g 34; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 18; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 135; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 110; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

The recipe calls for water added to the pomegranate juice and then reducing it later - save yourself some reduction time and just use pomegranate juice - or better yet use cherry juice for a triple cherry flavor. Our family loved this recipe although I thought the kirschwasser in it was too harsh and might just leave it our next time.

I made this ham for Christmas and it was incredible! The sauce was easy to make and very flavorful. I'll definitely be making it again.

I made this for Xmas dinner. Everyone loved the flavor of the ham. I think it was one of the best we've ever had. The pan sauce was not overly sweet or too salty. Some guests liked the pan sauce and others not so much, but those people were not ordinarily much for sauces to begin with. I would make this again.

I adapted this recipe with a fully cooked ham. I "cooked" the ham in a crock pot with the pomegranate juice broth as per the recipe, then used that broth in the sauce. I did not using all of the pomegranate broth in the sauce because I thought it would make it too thin, but with that exception, I followed the recipe and it worked perfectly. Both sauce and ham were delicious. I would definitely make this recipe again.

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