A ham has got to be the bargain lover’s dream. First, you can find it on sale at a reasonable price periodically. Half hams (shank or butt portions) often go on sale for less than $1 a pound around here. The only other thing I can buy for that price is whole chickens. But even at the “regular” price, hams are still a pretty good deal if you look at the cost per serving. I can cook half a ham for dinner, eat ham sandwiches a few times, have scrambled eggs and ham for breakfast once or twice, then dice up the rest and freeze in 1 or 2 cup portions. The ham bone I use for split pea soup more often than not, which we all love. The frozen diced ham comes out later for quiche, casseroles, scrambled eggs, soups, lo mein, fried rice…the list is nearly endless.
I still love the Fannie Farmer version of baked ham with brown sugar and maple syrup. But this recipe I got from CookSmart: Perfect Recipes for Every Day This is not a book full of hundreds of recipes. But it is full of thoughtful, explained, tested, delicious recipes. She cooks the ham for a longer period of time at a lower temperature, 250 rather than 350. The glaze is more of a savory than sweet one, loaded with garlic and rosemary. We loved it.
On a frugal note, if you have room somewhere plant a rosemary bush! The $1 plant at the nursery will provide you with a lifetime supply of rosemary if you live in a mild climate. I’m not sure how it does in a harsher one, but at the least you can dry your own rosemary for way cheaper than the $4 or $5 a bottle at the grocery store. I use mine all the time.
Ham with Rosemary and Garlic
- 1/2 a ham, 7-9 pounds
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 8 minced garlic cloves
- 2 Tbs minced fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbs ground pepper she called for 2 Tbs, but we’re not big pepper fans
- Put the ham on a rack. You can line the roasting pan with foil for an easier cleanup. Cover the cut end of the ham with foil.
- Score the ham in a diamond pattern, cutting just 1/4″ into the surface in a diamond pattern.
- Mix together the brown sugar, mustard, garlic, rosemary, and pepper and set aside until later when you use this as a glaze.
- Bake the ham (without the glaze) for 1 hour or so, until the scoring pattern is raised a bit on the ham.
- Put the glaze all over the ham and bake another 2 1/2 hours. Remove the foil from the cut portion of the ham, baste the ham with the drippings from the pan, and bake another half or so. You should count on about 30 minutes per pound at this temperature. If you’re in a hurry, raise the temperature to 350 and bake about 20 minutes per pound. Most hams have baking directions on the labels so follow those if in doubt.