Our favourite way to prepare a whole ham for Easter dinner or anytime you want to feed a large group. Thanks James Beard for the inspiration (he used a whole bottle of Madiera!) We normally use a smoked pork picnic when we don’t need a whole ham. It’s dead-easy, juicy and the Marsala permeates the meat with a wonderful flavour. Don’t throw that bone away, you can make pea soup. I don’t care for pea soup but I freeze the ham bones to use them to make baked beans!
For the Ham:
1 whole bone-in ham with rind
½ bottle of Marsala or Madiera
1 cup or so, Demerara sugar
Equipment: A roasting pan with a rack.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place ham on an oiled rack and place into the roasting pan; pour the Marsala over. Cover completely with tin foil. Place in oven and roast 10 minutes per pound. Remove from oven. Remove foil. Remove the rind when cooled enough to handle. Trim excess fat. Score remaining fat into diamond shapes; pat with demerara sugar to cover. Voila it’s ready!
No messy mustard glazes or nasty tinned pineapple slices involved, sorry Mom! When I told Mom about cooking ham this way, she tried it and never went back!
Note: If you want to use a smoked pork picnic, I find the best method is to pre-cook the ham, covered, for 1 hour in simmering water. Remove from the water and continue with the recipe. This process removes a lot of excess saltiness from the ham.