cranberry and orange glazed ham

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Despite his many (many, many) redeeming qualities, Aaron’s not really the textbook romantic. Flowers, moonlight walks, date nights and the like… well, they’re not his thing.

I get that – I’m just building a picture here, not complaining about absent romanticism. Not everyone finds authenticity in bunches of long-stemmed roses or shiny pieces of jewellery; there are other ways to demonstrate love. But with that in mind, you can understand how excited I get on the odd occasion when he does make an effort to appease his soppy wife. Like a picnic he planned in the second year of our marriage.

A Valentine’s Day picnic nonetheless.

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It was a balmy February afternoon. I had just returned home from work, quietly exhausted with little expectation of intrigue. I was greeted with a mischievous smile and the smell of fresh-baked bread from a wicker picnic basket. We drove to the beach, lay on the grass and ate cured meats, strawberries and cultured butter. As the night grew cold, we wrapped ourselves in fuzzy wool and sipped red wine with icy fingers.

I remember every detail from that night, from pebbles under my feet to the music playing in our car on the way home (Bon Iver, if you’re wondering). I also remember the scent of the skip bin as I climbed in to retrieve our best cutlery (accidentally thrown out as Aaron cleaned up. Ah, bless him).

Now, I’m not just spinning sweet allegory on a Sunday morning whilst teasing you with baked ham. Aaron bought most items for our Valentine’s Day picnic from The Boatshed market in Cottesloe (I’m obsessed with that place). Beneath a happy tumble of sourdough, French butter and Gorgonzola (he knows me well) was a jar of vibrant green pesto. The best jarred pesto I’ve ever tasted, in fact. In the moonlight I took very little notice of the label itself but after returning home (and climbing out of the skip bin) I made a mental note that has since remained.

Roza’s 100% natural, gluten-free Traditional Pesto, fresh-made in Brisbane. I’ve been buying it ever since.

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My infatuation with the traditional pesto led to staunch enthusiasm when I was approached to try a few other items from the Roza’s Gourmet Sauces range this week. In particular, a seasonal Cranberry & Orange Sauce with brandy-marinated orange rind.

After popping the lid, I can honestly vouch that this stuff is good. I’d eat it straight from the jar, smeared onto dark rye with a chunk of double brie. But as it’s one week shy of Christmas, I thought it’d be an opportune time to experiment with a seasonal favourite – glazed ham.

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So, yesterday morning. I woke with fragrant dreams of sticky cured pork, sizzling scored fat with a caramelised cranberry glaze. After eating some breakfast, I removed the pork rind, ran a knife through the fat and pricked each diamond with a scented clove.

Now for the good part: I smothered the scored fat with a thick layer of cranberry, orange and balsamic glaze. The end result was better than I could have ever imagined; deliciously moist, sweet meat with crunchy bits of caramelised cranberry, dark vinegar and bitter orange. I was stealing bits straight from the roasting tray.

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This recipe will definitely be a keeper in our family for years to come, but if you’re pressed for ingredients? I’d be happy for you to just douse your ham with the jar of Cranberry & Orange Sauce (obviously, you still need to prepare the meat before hand – sorry folks – and add half of the sauce before putting the meat in the oven and the rest half-way through the cooking time). The brandy-marinated orange rind and sweet, whole cranberries are already beautifully balanced.

A perfect addition to your Christmas table (and mine).

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Cranberry and Orange Glazed Ham

Serves 8 – 10

You will need a large baking tray with a rack for this recipe.

  • 6kg cooked leg ham
  • 1 x 240g jar Roza’s Cranberry & Orange Sauce
  • 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • finely grated rind of 1 orange (about 1 tbsp)
  • large handful of cloves

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees fan forced, 350 degrees f). Place the ham on a sturdy cutting board. Use a small, sharp knife to carefully cut through the ham rind about 8cm from the shank.

Run your thumb under the rind to separate it from the thick layer of fat. Carefully peel it back, making small cuts with the knife if the rind sticks too tightly. Peel back and remove the rind, then discard.

Score the fat in a shallow diamond pattern (don’t cut all the way down to the meat or the fat will melt and spread out during cooking). Press one clove into the centre of each diamond.

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Cover the shank end of the ham with foil to prevent burning.

Combine the Roza’s Cranberry & Orange sauce, balsamic vinegar and orange rind in a medium microwave safe bowl. Heat for 20-30 seconds, stirring regularly, or until thinned (squash any large whole cranberries with the back of a spoon).

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Place the ham over the wire rack, then spoon half the cranberry sauce mixture over the ham, using a pastry or basting brush to ensure even distribution.

Bake for 30 minutes, then use a spoon and pastry brush to baste the meat with the remaining cranberry sauce mixture (make sure you get the glaze into any cracks that have opened in the scored fat). Cook for another 20 – 30 minutes or until the fat is sizzling and the glaze looks caramelised.

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Serve warm or cold, thickly sliced with salad and buttered bread. Or, as I’ll be doing this year – as a beautiful part of a Christmas banquet.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a sample of Roza’s Gourmet Sauces Cranberry & Orange Sauce for the purpose of recipe testing. However, I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

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43 responses

  1. Gorgeous ham and such a nice story. I make a baked/glazed ham every New Year. Never thought to try a cranberry orange glaze but love the idea and the balsamic is a great addition. Looks delicious. Happy Holidays Laura!

    • Aw, thanks Suzanne. The cranberry glaze was delicious – definitely give it a go if you’re after something different this year. I love cranberries and the orange went really well with the sweet/tart flavour. Have a wonderful December lovely! xx

  2. Oh, I am so hungry right now. We are heading to a neighbor’s home for a holiday dinner … is it too much to hope that this is what we are having? Probably so, as I don’t think Roza sells her sauce here. Sigh. I will just have to make my own with that bag of cranberries in the fridge and an orange off the tree! do you think that will work?

    Aaron still sounds like the best mate one can have regardless of his few romantic gestures. I would shoot Mark if he ever paid for a dozen roses! (Although he once did send me a dozen lavender roses after seeing the wonderful romantic movie, Bed of Roses. I let that one pass!) Small gestures are the best. The picnic sounds perfect!

    • Aw, thanks so much David. Yep, Aaron is one in a million and I am so, so grateful for everything he does. So blessed that he chose me :) I definitely get your thoughts on roses, they’re quite the rip off aren’t they? I’m not particularly into flowers either, as you said – it’s the thought and gesture that counts. Little things mean so much – I adored the picnic! As for the fresh cranberries, I am so jealous! I’ve never eaten a fresh cranberry so I’m not sure how to use them (do you make your own sauce with sugar etc?) but I do imagine that they would be perfect with fresh orange rind as a homemade glaze. If you do try it, please let me know how you go? Happy Holidays my friend!! x

      • We used to get flowers when we lived in Maine and most days were gloomy or snowy or rainy… they brightened our lives. Here, it is beautiful all year round and we never feel the need, unless we pick a few from the garden to decorate the table.

        Yes – we always make our own cranberry relish using fresh berries, sugar and then a bunch of different combinations of flavors – port wine and raspberry, cardamom and orange – those are our two favorites. I am heading to the market today and will ask my pork guy about a ham! Having fun writing holiday and non-holiday posts now. Looking forward to more from you! xo

      • Aw you too my friend! I can imagine how wonderful the kitchen would smell whilst making cranberry relish. The port wine and raspberry sounds stunning too! Have fun with your continued cooking adventures David! xo

  3. Laura! This ham sounds, looks and I bet smells delicious! It’s kinda making me hungry for ham… this ham to be precise. Got any left? :) Awesome job as always, love the photos and the depth of flavour

    • I definitely have some left – I would love to swap some for your mango glazed ham, that looked so incredible. Ah, yay for Christmas food!! Thanks for the kind words Matt. Appreciate being blogging mates with you – can’t wait to talk gatherings and recipe testing when the silly season passes!

    • Thanks so much lovely one!!! Ah, it’s fun to reflect on little moments in our relationship history. I have been blessed with SUCH a good one. I appreciate him more and more every day :) Hope that the pregnancy is still going ok – was thinking of you this week xxx

  4. Love this post Laura, even though I’ve spent the entire weekend eating and drinking just a little bit too much. Love a clove-studded ham, and yours, glistening in the sunlight, looks to die for. I’d like a thick slice right about now please.
    I’m ashamed to admit I hadn’t heard of Roza’s products โ€“ I clicked your link and found that not only have they been around for 20 years, but they’re stocked at TWO of my locals. I’ve popped the pesto and cranberry sauces on my shopping list! We’re off camping soon, and I reckon the pesto will be the perfect quick campsite dinner. Laura, wishing you and Aaron a wonderful, food-filled festive season. xx

    • I loved the sunlight during this shoot – the sun is such a glorious delight at this time of year (well, except for the sunburn but I’m getting wiser about sunscreen in my old age!). I do hope that you track down some Roza’s chutneys or pestos, they are absolutely delicious and definite faves for when I don’t have time to make my own stuff. Hope that you had an amazing time camping, all the best for a beautiful December (and a merry Christmas!). Hugs xxx

  5. Laura, this ham is perfection and the cranberry & orange sauce with a brandy-marinated orange rind?!!! What? sounds fabulous!! Around the holidays, I’m not opposed at all to shortcuts and this already made cranberry & orange sauce is brilliant! And as for Aaron not being the textbook romantic, it’s all good. . he sounds fabulous and so sweet!! My husband is not textbook romantic at all and any romantic gestures he did while we were dating are all gone now. . it’s ok, I’m an “acts of service” love language type person and he does everything for me. . so he’s fabulous in that way. :) happy happy holidays to you and Aaron!! :)

    • Thanks beautiful Alice – yep, I am definitely not complaining. Aaron is such a blessing in my life, I’m constantly thanking God for him! Your husband and mine sound similar in some ways. I do think that love evolves as we grow together and acts of service is a beautiful way to keep demonstrating our commitment and appreciation!! I never thought to put cranberries and orange together before trying this sauce. We don’t get cranberries over here so I’ve never attempted to make my own – but most shop-bought cranberry sauces are quite horrible. I’d love to send you a jar one day soon! Sending you hugs and love, merry Christmas xxxx

  6. Well that does sound like a very romantic picnic, very textbook romantic at that ;) Hahaha I can just imaging you making a mental note of HAVING to look at the pesto label, lol, so cute. Your ham looks absolutely stunning, I can imagine it must have been so delicious.

  7. That glaze looks stunning Laura – so sticky and rich – just what every Christmas ham needs! Love the story about your sweet, romantic picnicโ€ฆ until the part where you had to hop into a skip bin! ;) Ahh, but aren’t they the stories that last with you a lifetime!

    • Most definitely Margot, haha! It’s so funny now that I think about it. The thing to remember is that he was being an absolute sweetie and cleaning everything up. I love the adventures that life brings us :) Merry Christmas lovely! xx

  8. Oh I love Roza’s gourmet sauces! They do a lot of gluten free and dairy free options – my favourite is their wasabi mayonnaise! It just doesnt last very long. my husband isn’t a romantic either but on those rare occasions when he does make an effort to be one he pulls it off with 100% success. Maybe because we both aren’t married to the romantic types….we really appreciate it when it does happen! Gorgeous story, you have such a way with words xx

    • Oh my gosh, I haven’t tried the wasabi mayo, I definitely need to get my hands on some! They’re great sauces though aren’t they. Quality stuff for when you’re time pressured! And yes, I definitely agree that it means so much more when I realize that romance doesn’t come naturally to Aaron. He has to think and be very deliberate about it. That’s love, indeed (for your hubby too!). Thanks so much Martine, hugs xxx

  9. This looks beautifully delicious Laura!! I’m planning to cook a big ham for our Christmas Eve lunch here with the Grandparents– so I”ll see if I can track down the equivalent of Rosas’s Cranberry Orange sauce here. Thanks for the great idea!!

    • Oh, definitely do it Rhonda! Just add a whole heap of orange zest and a bit of concentrated juice to normal cranberry sauce/relish if you can’t find Roza’s!! Merry Christmas my lovely friend, hope that you have a blessed time with the family xxx

  10. Yummy :) I could just eat whole jars of cranberry sauce. Not the anodyne supermarket brand (Tesco has one with only 21% cranberries. Meh.) but the super chunky, full-of-fruit kind like the one you use here. Oh yeah :) I’ve a jar of home made cranberry and orange jam from last year which I’m itching to get my hands on; only 9 days left and then there’ll be NO stopping me!!

    The Valentine’s day picnic sounds beautiful (apart from the cutlery fishing. I’ve done that too. Oops.). Maybe Aaron doesn’t do it often, but I bet that makes it super special when he does. Although you could always drop a hint or two. Like ‘Ah, Aaron, remember that wonderful picnic last February?’ (subtle) or ‘I wish someone would buy me some chocolates.’ (not so subtle). Or how about ‘Loki would love a sunset walk along the beach’: now you have a dog you can use him for all sorts of neat tricks ;)

    • Oh YUM, I wish I was there to squirrel away a portion of your homemade cranberry and orange jam at Christmas. That sounds amazing! As for pitiful supermarket brands, there are a couple like that over here too (brings a whole new meaning to ‘jelly’ rather than jam – I’ve searched and searched for a piece of cranberry before!). I guess it’s better than nothing… but then again, is it?! :)
      I wish that Loki could meet Clemmie. They would have such a grand time together, crunching on leaves and running in the woods. Plus, the added bonus would be that we could have hang out time – maybe plan a picnic and while away some hours with cups of tea. Sending you hugs and hoping that Christmas is amazing this year xxxx

  11. That is one gorgeous ham, Laura! The sugars in your glaze caramelized, painting the ham with such a deep, glorious glaze. I doubt that Roza’s is sold in these parts but I think I could make my own sauce — it’s sounds similar to one that I already make. All I’d need to do is add a bit of balsamic and follow in your footsteps to baked ham heaven.
    Your Aaron may not be a “textbook” romantic but he sure knows how to court a Lady. :)

    • Sounds wonderful John! We can’t get cranberries here (fresh or frozen, I have searched high and low!) so Roza’s is probably the best jarred sauce I have seen. I bet your homemade one is amazing! And yes, I am very blessed with a thoughtful and wonderful man – I’m grateful for him every day. Merry Christmas John! :)

  12. The picnic sounded very romantic to me Laura! Any kind of food surprise makes my day. This clove studded ham with an orange and cranberry glaze…is just brilliant! Your words and your photos are deliciously gorgeous.

    • Yes it definitely was… I loved every minutre. It means so much more, knowing that he makes the effort to do something romantic when it doesn’t come naturally. Thanks so much lovely xx

  13. Pingback: And so this is (almost) Christmas « Laura's Mess

  14. Pingback: Cranberry and Orange Glazed Ham | homethoughtsfromabroad626

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