Not all moms and not all families want to sit down and enjoy a turkey dinner at Christmas especially after feasting on one just a month or so earlier. So here is a great festive alternative for those who don’t want turkey again.
Depending upon your time restraints, and upon your ability to follow a recipe and cook from scratch, there are two types of Leg of Ham one can serve, Fresh or Smoke-cured.
A Smoked Ham will give you that smoked salty flavor of ham that most are used to having over the holidays.
While a fresh ham will give you more of the flavor of a roast pork. Both are tasty, easy to cook, and a family favorite.
The choice of which ham you choose to cook and serve, will depend upon how much time and effort you have to give in your kitchen towards preparation and cooking.
Obviously a smoked and cured ham is easier and quicker to cook than a fresh ham.
Also obviously the taste difference will be there too, for the smoked one is obviously saltier than the fresh will be.
I will be instructing you primarily on the preparation of the Fresh leg of Ham until we get to the Roasting part of the cooking. The roasting technique can be applied to both kinds.
Cooking Instructions:Using your largest deepest cooking pot, place your ham leg into you pot and cover it with 2/3 cold water.
Add apple cider or apple juice to fully cover the leg.
Add to this 4 whole bayleaf, a whole medium sized onion (peeled but uncut) studded with 4 whole Clove, 2 smashed cloves of garlic, 1 carrot vertically haved, 6 whole black pepper corns, a teaspoon of fresh or dried dill weed, a teaspoon each of fresh or dried rosemary, and thyme.
Bring this all to a boil on High heat, then reduce to a low heat and simmer 25 minutes per pound.
Remove your fresh ham from this pot and let sit to cool.
At this point the leg of ham is for the most part already cooked.
2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
1 pound fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup each raisins, and currants
In a medium sauce pan combine water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add your cranberries. Boil for about 5 minutes or until berries begin to pop.
Drain off cranberries and place into another sauce pan. Add in remaining ingredients and continue cooking until mixture begins to bubble, stirring occasionally.
Note: for a little added flavor add a teaspoon of cinnamon, for a little hotness spiciness you could also add a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne or dried hot chili peppers, depending upon your taste.
Preparing for Roasting:Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F Total roasting time is 45 minutes.
Once your ham is cooled down enough to handle, using a very sharp knife strip away the unwanted skin and score the fat making a diamond pattern. Lay your ham leg flat, fat side up in the bottom of your roasting pan. Brush your leg with some honey and molasses and press dark brown sugar firmly into the fat and sprinkle with a little cinnamon nutmeg and allspice. Place your roast into your pre-heated oven for 45 to 50 minutes.
In the last 10 minutes spread 2/3 of your cranberry glaze all over the roast and continue roasting. When done remove to your cutting board let stand for between 5-10 minutes and slice. Once sliced spread remainder of cranberry glaze over meat and serve hot.
If you want to add another dimention to the texture of this dish, rough chop some salted cashews and sprinkle once the ham is sliced.
Note: To make this a more decadent and delicious dinner whether for the family or for guests and friends, I like to serve this with my sweet-potato casserole recipe.
Note: If working with a smoked ham follow the same roasting instructions as with a fresh ham and apply the cranberry glaze as recommended.