Although most find me to be a bit crazy to offer hosting Christmas in our house after moving in just 2 weeks prior, but I would not have had it any other way. Not only did I want our nearly 2-year-old to spend Christmas morning in his new home, but I wanted an excuse to cook a big meal. Perhaps the first big meal in our new digs.
And since it was Christmas, I felt ham would be the best choice. Not to mention I find it fairly easy – it’s already cooked and tough to mess up. But I felt like I was in a ham rut. Not a bad ham rut, as I love ham with mustard and gingersnaps, but I wanted something different. New house, new recipe.
Nothing seemed more classic than a ham with some pineapple and maraschino cherries. Now I made the mistake – or very fortunate choice – to pick up maraschino cherries from our local wine shop. They were from Italy and I thought they would surely be better. And they were, but at $25 a jar, I am still undecided if they were worth the splurge.
This traditional ham recipe is from the lovely Paula Deen and is incredibly simple – just pineapples (and juice), maraschino cherries, mustard and brown sugar. The result was not only beautiful, but also delicious.
OLD FASHIONED HOLIDAY HAM
1 20 -ounce can pineapple slices, juice reserved
1 small jar maraschino cherries
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
Preheat the oven as directed on the ham package and follow the instructions for baking the ham. Remove the ham from the oven about 30 minutes before the end of the warming time.
Decoratively arrange the pineapple slices on top of the ham, securing them with whole cloves, if using, or toothpicks. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring and secure with a clove or toothpick.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and just enough of the reserved pineapple juice to make a thick glaze. Spoon the glaze over the ham and bake for the remaining 30 minutes. Remove the ham from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and carve.