When Easter is just around the corner, we Quebecers like to gather at the “cabane à sucre” in order to enjoy many traditional and exquisite meals. A plate of ham glazed with maple syrup often occupies the center of the table, and is usually empty at the end of the brunch. Of course, while nothing screams holidays more than maple baked ham, it doesn’t have to be enjoyed exclusively for Christmas or Easter. Trying your hand at such a recipe at home on any given day can be especially rewarding as well, as it usually yields lots of servings. It is perfect if you wish to invite a few people, but it can also be conveniently put in the freezer if you wish to avoid any waste.
While various versions of this dish exist, this recipe is probably one of my personal favorites because of its simplicity. Sure, it takes some time to cook, but the preparation is fairly easy. As you can see, it only requires five ingredients and involves only 20 minutes of prep time. Plus, the result is always delicious. The original recipe requires cider, but I tend to use beer instead since we have so much microbrewery gems here in Quebec. You could also use another type of ham, such as an uncooked one, but cooking time will obviously not be the same. Now get cooking, and have fun!
1. Place the rack at the bottom of the oven. Preheat at 350 °F (180°C).
2. In a large saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil. Let it simmer until it thickens and begins to caramelize. Add the chicken broth and cider (or beer) and bring to a boil again.
3. Transfer the maple syrup mixture in an oven dish, add the ham and season with pepper. Brush with about 1/4 of the mixture.
4. Brush evenly with the maple syrup mixture every 30 minutes, cooking the ham for about 2 hours and a half.
5. Once cooked through, let stand for 5 minutes and serve with the maple syrup mixture.