JENNIFER CHANDLER/SPECIAL TO THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
A ham is a perfect crowd-pleaser for Easter dinner. A fully-cooked ham can be warmed and glazed to boost the flavor.
A big baked ham is one of the easiest dishes to prepare for a holiday celebration, and it can feed a crowd.
When purchasing a ham, look for bone-in, fully cooked rump or shank. If you choose an already-cut (spiral-cut) ham, be aware that while convenient, they tend to dry out more easily when heated.
Since the ham is cooked, all you have to do is heat it to a serving temperature and, if you want, apply a nice glaze. My simple but tasty glaze uses two ingredients I always have on hand -- Dijon mustard and apricot preserves. You can also use other ingredients like honey, pineapple juice and even Dr. Pepper to make a sweet glaze.
To prepare the ham to bake, score it before applying the glaze. Scoring will allow some of the glaze to permeate into the meat. However, do not score the meat itself, just the fat and any skin. When basting, be sure to try to get some glaze in the score marks. The rule of thumb is to bake the ham for 20 minutes per pound.
Remove the ham from the refrigerator (still wrapped) a couple of hours before you intend to cook it so it can get closer to room temperature before re-heating. This will help ensure that the whole ham warms evenly.
Traditionally, baked ham recipes call for heating the ham to an internal temp of 140 degrees. The higher the internal temperature, the more risk there is of drying out the ham, so don't leave it in too long.
I always set aside a portion of the glaze to use as a sauce for my ham. If there are any leftovers, they will make delicious sandwiches the next day.
Apricot-Dijon Glazed Ham
1 (5 to 6 lb.) cooked bone-in ham (shank or rump portion)
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup apricot preserves
Score the ham and place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 11/2 to 21/4 hours or until internal temperature is 140 degrees.
Combine the mustard and apricot preserves in small saucepan. Stir and warm over medium heat until melted and smooth. Transfer 1/2 cup of the mixture to a small bowl to glaze ham. Set aside the saucepan with the remaining mixture.
Baste the glaze often on the ham during the last 30 minutes of baking.
Serve additional glaze on the side. Serves 12.
Jennifer Chandler is the author of "Simply Salads" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99) and "Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99). Her third book "Simply Grilling" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99) will be released on April 17. She lives in East Memphis with her husband and two daughters. For more recipes and dinner time solutions, visit cookwithjennifer.com.