I truly think Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the entire year.
I love the anticipation and expectation of Santa’s nocturnal arrival. I love being surrounded by family and friends, and I always get a sense of peace, hope and complete happiness at the Christmas Eve church service.
Our church service always falls around supper time, so it’s somewhat of a challenge to prepare a meal that’s both festive and will work with the evening’s festivities. I often make a lasagna that will bake while we’re at church, but last year I had an extra ham begging to be eaten. I found this recipe in a cookbook that I’ve probably had for 20 years, a gift from a friend’s church in Petersburg, Va. I loved it because the pecans give the ham an unexpected flavor and wonderful texture to the sweetness of the rub and the saltiness of the ham.
Sugar and Spice Spiral Ham
1 Hormel Spiral Sliced Ham
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
22 to 25 pecan halves, finely chopped
Heat oven to 250° F. Remove ham from all packaging materials. Place ham face down in roasting pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil; bake ham 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare sugar rub. Combine brown sugar with dry mustard, lime rind, ginger, pepper, allspice, cloves and finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork. Stir in lime juice to moisten sugar mixture evenly. Set rub aside.
Remove ham from oven and uncover pan. Pat and rub sugar mixture over warm ham, covering top end first then smearing mixture down the sides as evenly as possible.
Return ham to oven. Bake uncovered 30 to 45 minutes, basting meat with pan juices every 15 minutes. Ham is done when center reaches 150° F on meat thermometer. (Please refer to label for proper cooking instructions.) Remove ham from roasting pan; place on a ham rack and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 526, Calories from Fat: 373, Fat: 41 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 48 mg, Sodium: 1067 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 18 g, Protein: 20 g