Chef Jonathon Sawyer’s secret to a successful holiday feast is doing most of his preparation ahead of time, for what he calls “easy game-day execution.” He makes the sauce that becomes a sweet-sticky glaze and the spicy pepper jelly a few days in advance; then, on Christmas day, all he has to do is bake the ham.
Slideshow:Chef Holiday Recipes Made Easy
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
3 cups water
2 cups cola, preferably GuS Dry Cola
1 1/2 cups Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup buckwheat honey or other dark honey
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger (2 ounces)
1 carrot, thinly sliced
5 small dried red chiles
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed
One 8-pound, bone-in smoked ham
Red Pepper Jelly, for serving
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, bring the stock, water, cola, wine, sugar, honey, vinegar, onion, ginger, carrot and chiles to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat for 20 minutes. Add the coriander and fennel seeds and peppercorns and simmer until reduced to 4 1/2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°. Set the ham skin side up in a 12-by-15-inch roasting pan and pour half of the sauce on top. Roast the ham for 1 hour, basting with the sauce in the pan every 15 minutes.
Pour the remaining sauce over the ham and roast for about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, basting the ham every 15 minutes, until glazed and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 120°. Transfer the ham to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. Discard the skin from the ham before slicing. Serve the ham with the Red Pepper Jelly.
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