Cardamon-Maple Ham with Seckel Pears
Festive and fancy for the holidays but easy enough to make any day of the week!
This recipe uses a boneless half a ham, which makes it so easy for a weeknight meal . . . and such a treat since the bone-in variety is usually reserved for special occasions. Pineapple is usually paired with ham, of course, but Seckel pears highlight the cardamom and maple so beautifully. The flavors are so sophisticated, yet subtle. Just think of the sandwiches you can enjoy all week! . . . and that out-of-this-world omelet you could make come the weekend . . . or that bacon you could candy with the now pear-and-smoked-ham-infused cardamom maple syrup . . .
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; measuring spoons; dry and wet measuring cups; roasting pan or casserole; ; small mixing bowl; spoon; small sauce pan; whisk or wooden spoon;
1, 5-pound boneless half ham ¼ cup light brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamon ½ cup cardamon maple syrup ¼ cup apple cider 8 Seckel pears
"ILOC tip: score the ham for two good reasons. 1. The brown sugar, maple, and spices will flavor the ham better this way. 2. This will make slicing easier once cooked."
1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ground cardamon, cinnamon, and maple syrup. set aside.
"If you cannot buy cardamon maple syrup, then use regular maple syrup and double the amount of ground cardamon."
3. Pat the ham dry and score it in a criss-cross pattern across the top about ¼-inch deep. Press the sugar mixture over the top of the ham, allowing some of the mixture to fall through the cracks of the scored ham. Place the pears around the ham.
4. Bake the ham in the oven for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the the ham from the oven and drizzle with the maple syrup. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
6. Carefully remove the ham and the pears from the pan and set aside.
7. Pour the syrup/liquid in the pan into a small saucepan and heat over moderate heat. Gently simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced by half.
8. Slice the ham and spoon with reduced sauce. Serve with the roasted Seckel pears, whole or halved.
Makes 8-12 servings.