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Thursday, December 22 2011
 Adam Rapoport, Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appétit 
Recipe by the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen 

I know the holidays are supposed to be all about family and tradition, but the hedonist in me likes to think they're really all about a good party. 

Of course, the question is, what's the formula for one? 

When I would come home from college for winter break, it usually consisted of a few bags of Doritos, a keg of cheap beer, and a group of close friends and flirts from high school. I couldn't have asked for more. But nowadays, the bar's a bit higher. Here's my holiday rule: 

Always start with a ham. It's the centerpiece of any great Christmas party, it'll last the entire night, and the leftovers make for excellent sandwiches and even better split-pea soup. I order a bone-in smoked ham from my butcher, make a simple glaze, and pop it in the oven for a few hours--done. Last year, a chef friend brought over a magnificent Red Wattle ham he'd baked and set it out on a cutting board next to a bag of Martin's sliced potato bread and bowls of mayo and Dijon. By 11:30, I'd lost count of how many sandwiches I'd eaten. 

Related: 10 More Great Dinner Roast Recipes 

Slice it and serve with our soft dinner rolls so guests can make mini sandwiches, then use the bone to make soup. Ask your butcher for a whole cured, smoked bone-in ham from the back leg of the pig, or order one from You can also buy a half ham and cut the recipe in half. Flavor the meat with Riesling from the same bottle you use to make the gelée for the chicken liver mousse. 

1 14-16 lb. whole cured, smoked bone-in ham 
2 cups sweet (Auslese) Riesling, divided 
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter 
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots 
3 sprigs thyme plus 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves 
1/2 cup whole grain mustard 
1 tablespoon honey 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Small pinch of kosher salt 

Arrange rack in lowest level of oven; preheat to 300°. Leaving fat in tact, remove outer rind from most of ham, leaving a band around the end of the shank bone. Score fat crosswise (do not cut into meat) on top of ham with parallel cuts spaced 1/2" apart. Place ham in a large roasting pan. Boil 1 cup Riesling and 7 cups water in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Pour into bottom of roasting pan. Bake ham, basting with pan juices occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the ham registers 110°, 2 1/2-3 hours. 

See Also: 31 All-Time Favorite Holiday Cookies 

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme sprigs; cook, stirring often, until shallots are very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in the remaining 1 cup Riesling. Return to stove. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and transfer mixture to a food processor. Add thyme leaves, mustard, honey, pepper, and salt. Process until well blended. 

Remove pan from oven and increase heat to 350°. Using a pastry brush, spread Riesling mixture over ham. Return pan to oven and bake ham, tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until internal temperature registers 135° and crust is golden brown, 15-30 minutes. 

transfer ham to a large platter. Let rest for 30 minutes before carving. Skim fat from pan juices, reheat, and pour juices into a medium pitcher; serve alongside. 

More from Bon Appétit: 

Easy Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen 
Our Best Holiday Desserts 
25 One-Bite Winter Party Appetizers 
Predictions for the Biggest Food Trends of 2012 
Posted by: Send a Meal AT 04:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email