For our Easter menu this year we kept things pretty simple: ham, vegetables and potatoes. OK, the potatoes are a little fancy.
As we return to gathering together after more than two years apart, the food isn't really the point. It's the fellowship that's important.
- Apricot-Bourbon Glazed Ham
- Roasted Carrots and Brussels Sprouts With Lemon Butter Sauce
- Duchess Potatoes
To round out the meal, just add your favorite tossed salad, some rolls and dessert. Speaking of desserts, for the gluten-avoiders, we have an excellent gluten-free chocolate cake in Idea Alley. And we'll have more recipes for sweet treats next week.
To streamline preparing this menu, we recommend starting the ham first and while the ham cooks, peel and boil the potatoes and prep the carrots and brussels sprouts. As soon as the ham comes out of the oven, increase the temperature to 425 degrees and proceed with cooking the sides.
How much ham to buy depends on whether you want leftovers and what kind of ham you're serving. A general guide is ¼ to 1/3 pound per person if serving a boneless ham; 1/3 to ½ pound for partially boned; and ¾ to 1 pound per person for a bone-in ham. And it goes without saying, if you want plenty of leftovers be sure to buy more than you think you'll need.
Fully cooked and ready-to-eat hams are clearly labeled. These hams can be served right out of the package, but they'll taste their best if heated to an internal temperature of 140 degrees. For additional flavor, brush the ham with a glaze while it cooks.
Fully cooked hams are available boneless, partially boned or bone-in. Use whichever you prefer in the following recipe. The amount of glaze here is scaled for a small (up to 7 pounds) ham; if your ham is larger, consider doubling the glaze.
Apricot-Bourbon Glazed Ham
- ½ cup apricot preserves or jam
- 2 teaspoons minced or finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (see note)
- 1 (3- to 7-pound) cooked ham (we used a bone-in spiral sliced ham)
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a shallow baking pan with foil and spritz with nonstick spray or coat with vegetable oil.
In a small bowl, combine the apricot preserves, ginger and bourbon and mix until well combined.
If your ham is not sliced, use a sharp paring knife to score the ham by making crosshatch cuts all over the surface about ½ inch deep and ½ inch apart, creating a square or diamond pattern. If your ham is sliced, there's no need to score it as the glaze will sink into the sliced areas. Place the ham cut side down in the baking pan and brush the ham with about a third of the glaze.
Bake, uncovered, brushing with remaining glaze every 15 to 20 minutes, until the ham is heated through and the glaze is caramelized. Cooking time is generally 10 minutes per pound: A 6-pound ham will take 1 hour.
Remove the ham from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 10 to 30 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Note: Apple cider or pineapple juice plus a generous splash of vanilla extract can be substituted for the bourbon.
Recipe adapted from food writer Katie Workman, founder of The Mom 100 site
We loved this combination of sweet carrots, bitter brussels sprouts and tangy butter.
Roasted Carrots and Brussels Sprouts With Lemon Butter Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic or garlic paste
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 pound whole carrots, trimmed, halved (or quartered if very thick) lengthwise and cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
In a bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons olive oil, the garlic and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
Arrange carrots and sprouts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil mixture and toss to coat.
Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until sprouts and carrots are cooked to your liking. (We like our sprouts nearly blackened so that the outer leaves get crispy. This took 28 minutes in our oven.)
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer vegetables to a serving platter and drizzle with the lemon butter.
Makes about 4 servings.
Duchess Potatoes are a bit of work, but for a special meal like Easter, they're worth it. The little potato bites are crisp and buttery on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside. Leftovers can be reheated in a 350-degree oven for 7 minutes.
- 18 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 3 small to medium potatoes)
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided use
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Ground nutmeg, to taste
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- Special equipment:
- Piping bag and large star tip
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Place potatoes in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover; season with a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Boil 15 to 18 minutes or until potatoes are tender — a fork or the tip of a knife passes easily through them. Drain well.
Cut 3 tablespoons of the butter into small cubes.
Press the potatoes through a food mill, ricer or the holes of a metal colander into a large bowl. Mix in the cubed butter. (If you don't have any of those, place the drained potatoes and 3 tablespoons cubed butter directly in the large bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher until no lumps remain.) Taste and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and then stir in the heavy cream and egg yolks.Transfer the potato mash to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe potatoes into little piles on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter. Once the exteriors of the mounds have firmed up a little, remove the pan from the oven and carefully brush each pile with melted butter. Return potatoes to oven and bake 10 minutes more or until golden brown all over.
Makes about 6 servings.
Recipe adapted from "Posh Potatoes: Over 70 Recipes, From Wondrous Waffles to Fabulous Fries" by Rebecca Woods