December 7, 2008

Fresh Ham with Maple Walnut Cranberry Glaze

For maple-walnut cranberry sauce:
3/4 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
12 ounces fresh cranberries

For glaze:
1 cup pureed maple-walnut cranberry sauce
1/4 cup cranberry juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For ham:
18 -23 pound fresh ham on bone, trimmed of tough outer skin
5 cups kosher or coarse sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

To make sauce: Combine cranberry juice, syrup, maple extract and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes, until cranberries have popped and mixture is a bit thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to an attractive glass jar or other container and refrigerate at least 1 day.

To make glaze: Puree cup of cranberry sauce in bowl of a food processor. Add cranberry juice, maple syrup, honey, and salt and pepper and process until combined. (Glaze can be prepared 2-3 days in advance and stored in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.)

To make ham: Place ham in a very large plastic bucket or tub, or in kitchen sink, fill with water to cover, and pour in 5 cups salt. After 6 hours, remove ham from brine, rinse well, and pat dry. Season with pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325° F., setting rack at lowest level. Place ham in a heavy foil-lined roasting pan. Make small incisions all over with point of a small knife, and insert garlic slices into incisions. Generously coat ham with cranberry glaze. Insert meat thermometer in middle section of ham, but not touching bone; follow manufacturer's instructions for setting temperature timer to 155° F.

Set roasting pan with ham in oven, with exterior thermometer panel on outside. Bake 1 hour, then tent with aluminum foil. Continue to bake until thermometer reads 155° F., another 5-6 hours. Remove ham from oven and let rest 20 minutes before carving. Serve with any remaining sauce, if desired. Serves 16.

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