Now, I don’t eat ham…I don’t like the texture (although I’ve always had a hard time explaining why), but I grew up in a family who usually did the traditional “Easter Ham” & I have a husband who gets pretty excited about about it as well. For me, Easter is about spring, egg hunts, flowers…chocolate-covered marshmallow bunnies (I’m not gonna lie!), and activities with the kids! I love dying eggs and watching their faces when they discover their baskets in the morning. Even my 17 yr old is excited to discover the T-shirt or comic book hiding among the eggs & treats in his basket (Mommy bunny always puts some non-edibles in the basket as well). Many years ago my mother started making a particular ham recipe that became a family classic. It is now the only one that is asked for in my home, my siblings’ homes, my in-laws have shared it with friends, my husband has been emailing around work…I figured the “cat’s out of the bag” I may as well share it with you all.
Our Easter Dinner consists of Mom’s Coke Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, & a Vegetable, this year I made Garlic Roasted Asparagus. We round it out with my Pineapple Upside-down Cake.
Start by placing your Shank Half/Bone-in Ham, thick side down, into a pot on the stove top. Pour 2-liter of Coca-Cola Classic to cover entire Ham, use more if needed (cannot be diet, off-brand, or Pepsi or it doesn’t work the same). Cover with lid, bring to boil then simmer for at least 2 hours.
While the Ham is simmering in Coke, it’s a good time to use the oven to prepare the cake or other dessert. I’ve always been a fan of Pineapple Upside-down Cake. I try to do a lot of things from scratch, but given that I’m in the kitchen all day on the holidays anyway having a couple of cheats I think is alright! I use Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme. If you look on the side of the box there is a skillet recipe; you do need to have a 12+ inch skillet that has an oven safe handle, but it is SO worth it! I’ll paste the link to the recipe on their website below along with the pic of my finished cake. This is my “go to” recipe! I love it. #duncanhinespineappleupsidedowncake
Now that your Ham has been cooking for 2-3 hours while you got your cake baked & out of the way…Pour the Ham & Coke into a strainer in the sink (be careful, the hot Coke-Cola is sticky & will burn badly if it splashes onto your face). Trim off fat. You can choose to leave the Ham whole or cut it off of the bone in chunks like I do (as pictured). If you leave it whole you must score it well to ensure that the flavors get through it. [I prefer it “chunked” for a couple of reasons. I think that it allows the pieces to all get good & crispy in the oven as well as making sure that the flavor gets all over them.] Sprinkle with cloves, brown sugar, & drizzle with molasses (to taste). Set aside.
Here’s one more “cheat” that I do…I admit that I haven’t yet successfully been able to make homemade, all from scratch, cheesy scalloped potatoes…so sad. They are always either too greasy, the potatoes are too firm, or the sauce isn’t creamy enough for my liking, as I’m a perfectionist about such things…so, I cheat. I get boxed scalloped potatoes & I embellish them & jazz them up! For our family of 5, I usually use 2 boxes. I always use the “oven method” on the box. Follow all of the steps up to stirring in the potatoes…STOP! Add a small handful of shredded sharp cheddar (I get Tillamook extra sharp white cheddar, it’s awesome & a great price at Costco) & 1 bunch (just shy of a cup chopped) green onion. Stir it up good then add the potatoes. Sprinkle a little more cheddar on the top (to get that nice crispy goodness) then bake as directed. So much better than straight outta the box!
While the potatoes are in the oven, clean asparagus under cool water. (To remove woody ends from the asparagus, gently bend the end of each spear until it snaps naturally.) Lay on a paper towel & pat dry as you can, you don’t want them to steam in the oven.
Next, spread the asparagus out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea or kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, & garlic (I use a little garlic mill, but you can use granulated as well). Finally, pop in the preheated 425-degree oven & roast the asparagus for about 10 minutes. The secret is for the oven to be very hot without the veggies getting overcooked & wimpy.
Now that the asparagus is done, crank the oven temp up as hot as it will go (ours goes up to 550) & throw the ham in for 10 min (15 min if you left it whole), then rearrange the pieces, sprinkle more cloves, brown sugar, drizzle more molasses, & turn on the broiler on high. Set the timer for 7 minutes & go get the table set. (The broiler gets it good & crispy around the edges.)
Dinner is served!
- 1 Shank Half/Bone-In Ham
- 1 2 Liter Bottle Original Coke-Cola
- Brown Sugar
Place Ham, thick side down, into pot on top of stove. Pour Coke-Cola over ham. Cover with lid, bring to boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours. When 2-3 hours have passed: Heat oven as hot as it will go (probably 550); Pour ham and Coke-Cola into strainer in sink; Transfer ham to an oven proof pan (either the entire ham or cut from bone & place in pan, but either way trim fat first; if whole ham in dish you must score it by cutting slashes all over it so the next ingredients will seep down inside); Sprinkle with cloves, brown sugar, & molasses (to taste); Put in oven for 15 minutes (If you cut the ham from the bone, you’ll need to cook 10 minutes in the oven then rotate pieces, add more cloves, brown sugar, & molasses, then cook another 7 minutes on broil to crisp it up.
Garlic Roasted Asparagus
- 1 bunch Asparagus
- 4-5 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt or Sea Salt, to Taste
- Fresh Ground Pepper, to Taste
- Ground Garlic, to Taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Clean asparagus under cool water. Remove woody ends from the asparagus by gently bending the end of each spear until it snaps naturally. Lay on a paper towel & pat dry as you can (you don’t want them to steam in the oven). Next, spread the asparagus out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea or kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, & garlic (I use a little garlic mill, but you can use granulated as well). Finally, pop in the preheated oven & roast the asparagus for about 10 minutes. The secret is for the oven to be very hot without the veggies getting overcooked & wimpy.