Much of the flavor from the Champagne and vanilla bean seeds ends up in the pan drippings, which are then used to create a simple sauce.
1 (11-pound) 33%-less-sodium smoked, fully cooked bone-in ham
24 whole cloves
1 1/2 cups Champagne or sparkling wine, divided
1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup apple jelly
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Trim fat and rind from ham. Score outside of ham in a diamond pattern, and stud with cloves. Place ham, bone end up, in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Pour 1 cup Champagne over ham. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a small saucepan. Add vanilla bean and 1/2 cup Champagne to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Stir in apple jelly; cook 3 minutes or until jelly dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Discard vanilla bean. Pour half of Champagne mixture over ham. Bake 30 minutes; pour remaining Champagne mixture over ham. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until ham is thoroughly heated. Place ham on a platter; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 15 minutes.
Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure or bowl. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain the drippings into a bowl, stopping before the fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Serve sauce with ham.
Note: Wine Suggestion: Pairing ham with wine takes some care. But this recipe, oriented as it is to vanilla and apple flavors, takes the ham in a Chardonnay direction. Like this dish, Chardonnay has vanilla and apple flavors, and its light sweetness mirrors that of the ham. Opt for a Chardonnay that's not too oaky. Try the Gloria Ferrer form the Carneros region of California ($22) or, for a steal, the McPherson Chardonnay from South Eastern Australia ($8).
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This ham is outstanding. My family could not get enough. So festive at the holidays, too, especially with the fabulous aroma! We purchase our ham from an Amish farm and it is worth the extra money for the high quality. After preparing our own ham with this recipe, I will never go back to spiral cut honey hams again.
I made this last year for Christmas dinner and it was spectacular. So good, in fact, that my family is requesting the same recipe again this year! Yes, vanilla beans are a bit expensive, but totally worth it!