Growing up, ham was normally reserved for company or holiday meals. My most visible memory of my Mom preparing a gorgeous ham was one she made for company. Mom had toiled away all afternoon, readying the evening meal for her guests. She pulled her gorgeous ham from the oven, left it to rest on the counter and we made a quick run to the market. When we returned our beloved German Shepherd was sitting at the top of the stairs gnawing on the bone, enjoying a late afternoon snack. On all eight pounds of ham.
I love a good ham. But often the presentation is nothing more than a slab of meat on a platter. If you look through any cookbooks dating from the 1930s through the 1970s you will typically find chapters on sauces. There was a reason and they weren’t just for dessert. There were luscious sauces served with vegetables and meats. Pull those recipes back out – they are such a simple way to elevate the taste of any meal.
Raisin Sauce is a perfect example of a beautiful vintage sauce. It’s a wonderful addition to any baked ham, but it’s also fabulous served with a pork tenderloin or pork roast. This sauce comes together in less than 30 minutes with simple ingredients – golden raisins, fresh oranges, spices of cloves and mace plus currant jelly and it can easily be made ahead.
You don’t need a special occasion or even company to enjoy this spectacular dish!
1 cup sugar
½ cup orange juice
1 cup golden raisins
1 large orange, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon mace
1 cup currant jelly
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup water
Combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch and the water in a medium saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering until the raisins are very plump, about 15 minutes.
Dissolve the 2 teaspoons cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water. Add to the raisin sauce and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve warm over ham, pork tenderloin or pork roast. Refrigerate any leftover sauce.
Maple Baked Ham
1 fully cooked spiral cut ham, about 4-6 pounds
1 cup maple syrup
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 orange, sliced
Place the ham cut side down in a large roasting pan, add the orange slices.
Whisk together the maple syrup, the brown sugar and the orange juice. Pour over the ham.
Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for about 1-1/2 – 2 hours (approximately 15-20 minutes per pound). About halfway through the cooking time, spoon the maple glaze back over the ham and continue cooking. The last 30 minutes, remove the foil and cook until the ham is heated through and the internal temperature is around 140 degrees.
Serve with warm Raisin Sauce.