Thursday, March 31, 2011

Orange Braised Ham

I love using my Crock-Pot (or slow cooker, depending on how you were raised). It is just so easy, and I like the freedom to walk away, leave the house, etc but dinner is still in the works. Last weekend, I tried a new recipe out of my Williams Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking book. It is a pretty good book. Sometimes the recipes aren't the healthiest, and I have had a few "misses", but for the most part it is a nice book. I previously had the Fix it and Forget it (Light) book, which was TERRIBLE. That book thought "healthy" cooking was throwing a chuck roast into the Crock-Pot with a diet Coke. Argh. 

I had never made a ham in the Crock-Pot, but I had some studying to do Sunday and wanted to be able to take the dog to the park without leaving the oven on in the house. So I gave it a go.

Recipe adapted from the book:
6 lb ham, butt, bone in
2 cups orange juice
1 orange, zested
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
6 whole cloves
6 peppercorns

All you do with the ham is put it into the Crock-Pot. Cover it, and cook on low for about 5-6 hours.

Once that time has elapsed, I added the juice, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, brown sugar to a saucepan. You can zest the orange over the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 15 min). This is my fabulous Pampered Chef zester, which is AWESOME (shameless plug for Pampered Chef consultant Mary Nixon).

Using a baster, I removed all the fat drippings from the bottom of the Crock-Pot. Pour the orange glaze over the ham, and cook another 2 hours. After it is finished, it looked like this:

For the record, the pill bottles in the background are for my crazy dog, not any crazy humans. The ham fell apart, so wasn't really sliceable, but was not dried out at all. I cooked mine for 6 hours before glazing, and probably 5 hours would be better, as it may be able to be sliced and not fall apart.

It had a really strong orange flavor, so don't make it unless you like oranges! But it was a nice change from the typical maple/pineapple hams I typically make. And super easy!

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