Of all the menu items expected to appear at the Christmas dinner table, a Christmas ham is likely to be the centerpiece, flanked by all kinds of festive and bright side dishes. Making a ham at home couldn’t be easier, as most come pre-cooked and ready to eat (they just need to be warmed in the oven). But a plain ol’ ham for Christmas simply won’t do, so to jazz it up and make the ham truly worthy of its place of honor, you’ve got to add a little sweetness and a little spice. When it comes to the Christmas ham, that means a little brown sugar, some spices, and typically a liquid to give the meat that savory, tender juiciness.
A pre-cooked ham is typically pretty salty, so what we want to do is to bring in flavors that will complement that saltiness. Of course, we need sweet and savory, so for this particular recipe, we’re going with apple cider. It adds a nice sweet acidity to the ham and keeps it nice and moist – there’s nothing worse than a dry ham! To really amp up the flavor and presentation of our ham, we’re rubbing it with brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and allspice. Not only will these spices add amazing flavor, but also a little bit of color, especially as the brown sugar caramelizes and gives the ham a lovely sweetness.
To serve this beautiful ham, carefully transfer the meat from the roasting pan to a serving platter. And now it’s ready to be devoured by hungry holiday family and friends. It’s nice to know that something pre-cooked and store-bought can be doctored a little bit to turn it into something mouthwateringly wonderful. As good as this will be on the Christmas dinner table, just think of all the possibilities with the leftovers! We can hardly wait for a slice of delicious Christmas ham sandwiched between a sliced leftover dinner roll and all the other ways we will get to enjoy Christmas dinner again and again!
Serves 10+; 90 minutes
- 1 (9-10 lbs) spiral sliced ham, fully cooked
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 teaspoons allspice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place ham cut-side down into a roasting pan.
- Mix brown sugar, apple cider, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and allspice into a bowl. Pour over and rub in ½ of the spice mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, remove aluminum foil and pour remaining spice mixture over ham, use a brush to help spread spice mixture over ham.
- Return to oven and bake for another 45 minutes.
- Add more time if needed to heat ham through and to crisp edges of ham to a deep brown.
Recipe adapted from Serendipity and Spice.