By Emily Smith, Arts and Entertainment Editor
For a lot of students, the absence of a long weekend or holiday makes it difficult or nearly impossible to visit home.
With Easter falling on a Sunday, many most likely plan on staying put in Savannah. But just because you’re not home, who’s to say that you should eat cereal or spaghetti for Easter dinner? Getting a few friends together to make a nice meal can be fun, cheap, and easy.
Believe it or not, a succulent ham is actually pretty hard to mess up. Besides a frozen pizza, it is one of the easiest items to throw into the oven. With a few ingredients and slicing techniques, you can easily impress your friends this holiday.
Surprisingly, there a variety of hams to choose from at the grocery store. However, nearly all of them are fully pre cooked and simply need to be heated through. You do need to decide what kind of piece you want though. A bone-in ham, such as a rump half, has a round, meatier end. You could also choose a shank portion which is tapered and easy to carve. Lastly, there is the boneless ham which obviously makes slicing extra simple.
Some hams contain added water which tend to be cheaper and taste less salty. Read the labels for all of these details when choosing a ham.
The next question is how much ham should you buy? This depends on whether it has a bone, the amount of fat and the cut.
Figure about three entree servings per pound when it comes to the rump half or shank portion. For a boneless ham, plan on four to five servings per pound.
Assume that the ham needs to be refrigerated unless the label says otherwise. An uncanned, boneless ham can be refrigerated for up to one week and shank or rump portions can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Unlike turkey, ham does not have to be washed. However, cutting a diamond pattern on the meat’s surface and brushing on a glaze will make your dish even more impressive and delicious.
An easy brown sugar mustard glaze requires only a few basic ingredients.
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pineapple juice (optional)
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and brush the glaze over the ham during the last 45 minutes of baking. If you are like 99% of college students and do not own a cooking brush utensil, carefully pour the glaze onto the ham and use your clean fingers to spread it around if needed.
Place the ham in a shallow roasting pan. A disposable roasting pan can be found at Wal-Mart or Big Lots for under five dollars. Cooking times vary according to the size of the ham and they will be conveniently located on the label. A ham can take anywhere between one to four hours depending on cut and size.
If you do not own a meat thermometer, test for doneness by piercing the ham with the end of a knife or a fork. It should slide in and out of the ham with little resistance if it is fully cooked. If the ham contains a bone, the meat will separate from it when it is done.
Once it is fully cooked, place the ham on its side for slicing. Having friends help with cheap and easy side dishes such as boiled potatoes, canned vegetables, salad, bread, or frozen pie can make for a festive holiday meal.