Nothing says Christmas lunch like an enormous joint of smoked ham on the table. My recipe for Apricot Glazed Christmas Ham is super simple, a great way to feed a crowd, and ideal for special occasions.
Liberally smothered with a sticky apricot and mustard glaze (with just a hint of spice), this ham is delicious served warm or cold, making excellent leftovers.
A Christmas tradition
In my family, a ham has always been the star of the Christmas table. With the festive season in New Zealand and Australia falling in the middle of summer, a ham has always been a fantastic way to combine the Christmas traditions of the Northern Hemisphere with the reality of the sunny weather outside.
To make my Apricot Glazed Christmas Ham, you’ll need the following simple ingredients:
- Apricot jam or Apricot preserves: You need a nice, smooth apricot jam for this recipe, so if it is chunky, blend until smooth. You could also use a finely shredded orange marmalade or even mango chutney.
- Dijon Mustard: Mustard adds a hint of spice and depth of flavour to the glaze.
- Vinegar: Vinegar cuts the sweetness of the glaze a little. I use apple cider vinegar; however, wine vinegar is equally delicious.
- Soft Brown Sugar: This helps to caramelise the ham. You can use honey or maple syrup though they tend to burn faster than sugar, so you’ll need to keep a close watch on the ham and tent with foil if it gets too dark.
- Chilli, garlic and cloves are my favourite spices to use with ham. You can mix it up and use what you have on hand.
- Ham: The star of the show! For a big crowd, I will always get a half-leg ham. For smaller groups, a ham shoulder like the one pictured is suitable. Be sure to choose a ham that says it is fully cooked! You can also use spiral ham for this recipe.
How long does it take to cook Christmas Ham?
Christmas ham is generally sold pre-smoked and pre-cooked, meaning all it needs is enough time in the oven for the glaze to caramelise and the meat to heat through to the bone.
A general rule of thumb is that ham will need 15 minutes of oven time per 500g / 1 lb. I like to give my ham an additional 20 minutes to thicken and darken the glaze.
What to do with leftover ham?
Leftover ham is lovely for all sorts of things! My Dad would always cook ham steaks on the barbecue (delicious), but you could use this tasty ham in my Mini Picnic Quiches or a warming pea and ham soup.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long does cooked ham keep?
When I was a kid, it felt like we were still eating Christmas ham in February! Cooked ham will keep in the fridge for at least 5 days.
It is traditional in New Zealand and Australia to cover the ham with a cloth bag or cotton towel soaked in a mixture of vinegar and water. This prevents the ham prevent from drying out and preserves freshness.
Can I freeze cooked ham?
Yes, frozen ham is excellent for soups and other meals. Cut thick slices from the bone and wrap well before freezing to prevent the meat from drying out.
What temperature is cooked ham?
Pre-cooked bone-in ham should be reheated to the internal temperature reaches 60°C / 140°F.
Apricot Glazed Ham Recipe
for the glaze:
- ½ cup apricot jam
- 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tbsp soft brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 chilli, diced
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- sea salt and black pepper
for the ham:
- 3kg (6 lb.) cooked ham shoulder or leg on the bone
- PREPARE: Remove the ham from the fridge at least 45 minutes before cooking. Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
- REMOVE HAM SKIN: Cut deeply into the ham all the way around the bone, approximately 5 cm (2 in.) from the end. Starting at the other end, run your fingers under the skin and gently peel it away from the ham, trying to keep as much of the white fat underneath attached to the ham as possible. Discard skin.
- SCORE HAM: Use a small, sharp knife to score the ham. You can cut a traditional diamond pattern or cut lines very close together the length of the ham. Try to cut only through the upper fat layer, not deep into the ham itself.
- MAKE THE GLAZE: Combine all glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then remove from the heat.
- BAKE: Line a baking dish or shallow roasting pan with aluminium foil (important!) and then baking paper. Place ham on the tray with any vegetables that you are cooking alongside. Use a basting brush to brush the ham generously with the glaze, then bake for 20 minutes.
- REPEAT: Cook the ham for 1 hour and 20 minutes, brushing with the remaining glaze every 15-20 minutes until the ham is warmed through and the glaze is dark golden brown.
- SERVE: Allow to cool slightly before slicing thickly and serving.
Note: It is essential to line the baking dish or pan very well with foil to stop sugar from burning onto your dish. Plus, it makes for easy cleanup - win-win!
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