Season's Eatings: Recipes

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Authors of Forking Fantastic!: Put the Party Back in Dinner Party, Zora O'Neill and Tamara Reynolds, will be joining The Brian Lehrer Show each week in December to talk about holiday food and entertaining. They start their weekly December visits today with advice on holiday entertaining on a budget. Here's a non-budget-busting recipe:

Adapted from Forking Fantastic! Put the Party back in Dinner Party, by Zora O’Neill and Tamara Reynolds

In every other instance, we encourage you to buy excellent-quality meat. But in this case, you want that $1.49-a-pound, standard pink supermarket ham. Don’t be tempted by the fancy spiral-cut treatment (those thin slices dry out during the long bake). Serves 8–10

One 10-pound precooked ham, preferably bone-in shank portion
2 cups (about one 500-milliliter bottle) bourbon
2 cups orange juice
3 cups (1 pound) dark brown sugar
5 generous dollops Dijon mustard
½ cup molasses
Salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse the ham and slice off the tough outer skin, taking care not to remove too much of the fat along with it. Then cut long crisscrossing lines at least ¼ inch deep and 1 inch apart all over. Place the ham directly in a heavy nonreactive (glass or stainless steel) roasting pan or baking dish and slowly pour ½ cup bourbon over, letting it sink in to the meat as much as possible. Set the ham, uncovered, in the oven and let it roast while you prepare the glaze.

In a nonreactive saucepan, boil the orange juice until reduced by half. Stir in the remaining bourbon, plus the sugar, mustard and molasses to make a smooth glaze. After the ham has been in the oven for 45 minutes, apply the glaze all over, making sure you get into all the crevices that have now opened up; pour the remaining glaze into the roasting pan. Return the ham to the oven and let it roast for at least 1½ hours, and up to 2½ hours if you have the time. Check on it every 30 minutes or so, drizzling more of the glaze over the top. Wrap the top of the ham in a bit of aluminum foil if it looks close to burning.

When the glaze is browned to your satisfaction, remove the glorious ham from the oven, set it on a serving platter and cover it loosely with foil. Taste the juices from the roasting pan—you may need to add a pinch of salt to balance it. Pour a bit of this sauce back over the ham, and place the rest in a bowl to pass with the meat. At the table, designate one guest to hack slices off the ham—it helps keep the crowds from getting unruly.