Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bourbon for Easter: A New Favorite!

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Yes that's right, we celebrated a highly religious holiday with bourbon. Now, before you get all shocked and judgy picturing us sitting around doing shots of Jim Beam, let me throw in the teeny detail that it was an ingredient in our fabulous ham glaze, not the beverage of choice!

My mother-in-law and I worked together to put the Easter meal on the table this year, it was so nice to share the prep and cooking with someone - made it less crazy and gave us both more down-time as most of the dishes were prepped ahead of time.

Our menu included:
- Fig Glazed Ham
- Corn Pudding
- Pineapple Stuffing
- Tarragon Deviled Eggs
- Roasted Asparagus
- Mashed Potatoes (for my husband, since he hates pineapple)
- Mini Lemon Meringue Pies for dessert

Yeah, we were all about the savory meat and starches, but to our credit we had one green veggie - it was a glorious reprieve from daily salads and well-rounded healthy eating. Everyone needs to indulge occasionally to keep their sanity!

There is a now-running joke in our family about the horror of a Lancaster County-based food phenomenon called "ham balls" that has been a regular dish at Easter dinners until recently.


I know.

Ham. Balls.

They are balls of scrap leftover ham (I think?) all compressed and, from what I can taste, coated in multiple layers of salt. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law like them...the rest of us snort-laugh at the name and gag a little on the salt content. Needless to say there was a lively Facebook-based exchange between the ham ball haters and the ham ball lovers. Happy Easter everyone!

I have the recipes I made posted below with photos, so check 'em out...the ham was a huge hit, that fig/bourbon glaze was phenomenal...tart and sweet with a perfect glaze-y balance of yumminess.

Fig Glazed Ham


- 1/4 cup Jim Beam bourbon
- 1 cup fig preserves
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 10 lb. pre-cooked ham (our was 8 and worked just fine)
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. If you have a spiral-sliced ham, you can skip this next step. Trim the ham by removing the outer skin/rind, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of fat. Score the fat layer with a paring knife in a diamond pattern. Put the ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan. Add the water and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.

2. While the ham is cooking, make the glaze by whisking all of the remaining ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring often, to infuse flavors and to thin the preserves, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside 1/4 cup of the glaze.

3. Remove the foil after the ham has cooked for 45 minutes and brush it with the glaze, working it into the scores and slices. Bake the ham, uncovered, another 40 minutes, basting again after 10 minutes. Remove the ham from the oven when an internal temperature of 140 degrees F is reached on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the ham to carving board and it let rest for 10 to 15 minutes, covered with the foil to keep it warm.

4. Move the roasting pan over two burners on the stovetop, add in the 1/4 cup of reserved glaze and whisk until combined. Skim fat off the top of the drippings and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until you reach the right consistency. Serve the ham up warm and drizzle it with the gravy.

The next recipe is for the Tarragon Deviled Eggs. I am a deviled egg freak, I love the things! Basically I love all things you can do with eggs, they are one of my all-time favorite things to eat. I got this recipe (and the one for the ham) from Claire Robinson on Food Network. Her show, 5 Ingredient Fix, is one of my favorites and I have yet to have one of her recipes turn out badly!

Unfortunately her recipe called for fresh tarragon and every store nearby was completely out of it when I went to I had to use dried tarragon...if you find yourself in this situation, just cut the amount of tarragon called for in half and crush the dried tarragon between your fingers before you add it to bring out the flavor.

Tarragon Deviled Eggs

- 6 large eggs (I did 8 because I inevitably screw up one or two!)
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp. minced shallot
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped sweet gherkin (dill would be good too)
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 tsp. dried and crushed)


Put the eggs in a small saucepot. Add cold water to cover by about 1-inch. Bring the water to a boil over medium-low heat, then turn off the heat, cover and let sit for about 12 minutes. Cool the eggs down in cold water, then peel and split lengthwise. Remove the yolks to a bowl and reserve the whites.

2. Using a fork, mash the yolks with salt, pepper, to taste, and Dijon until smooth. Add the shallot, gherkins, 1 tsp. of the gherkin brine liquid and tarragon and stir to combine. If too thick, add a teaspoon more of gherkin brine liquid.

3. Spoon into a resealable plastic bag and cut off a corner. Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg white halves and serve. I didn't use a plastic bag because I have a fabulous little gadget my friend Jan Marie got me when Aaron and I got married. However, a plastic bag or piping bag would work just as well to assemble your eggs.

Now, looking at the crazy length of this blog post, I'm going to just give you the link to the recipe for the Mini Lemon Meringue Pies. The filling was so delicious I swear I'm going to use it the next time I do a full-size pie!

For the recipe, click here. A few photos of the process are below.

Let me know if you try any of the recipes and what you guys did with Easter ham this year - I have to say, bourbon is our new Easter tradition as of this year!

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