PHOTO: PORK BE INSPIRED
Ireland Hopping / By Margaret M. Johnson
Unlike other holidays with a fixed date, Easter takes place on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (always March 21) – or any Sunday between March 22 and April 25 each year. And while the date changes annually, the menu for Easter Sunday dinner is generally rooted in the classics: baked ham (or lamb, if you prefer), a fresh spring vegetable, and something chocolate to finish. What’s not to like! You’ll find these and other springtime recipes in “SPRING, An T-Earrach,” in Favorite Flavors of Ireland. You can order signed copies at www.irishcook.com
BAKED HAM WITH HONEY-APRICOT SAUCE
SERVES 14 to 16
Most cooks like the convenience of a fully cooked smoked ham, especially spiral-sliced, so this recipe (and the glaze variation that follows) is hard to beat. Serve it with oven-roasted asparagus and carrot and turnip purée (recipes follow).
7 to 8 pound spiral-sliced smoked ham, bone-in
1 cup honey
1 (6 ounce) can orange juice concentrate (thawed)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Place ham on a rack in a shallow baking pan; cover pan tightly with foil.
- Combine honey, orange juice, soy sauce, jam, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl. After roasting ham for 30 minutes, pour sauce over and continue to roast, basting frequently with sauce, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion (not touching bone) registers 140° F (about 15 minutes per pound).
- Remove ham from oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes; slice and serve.
SUTO NORBERT | DREAMSTIME
SERVES 10 to 12
3 pounds fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- Raise oven temperature to 400° F. Remove and discard woody stems from asparagus. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with lemon pepper and salt. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender.
CARROT AND TURNIP PUREE
SERVES 10 to 12
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
2 pounds turnips or rutabagas, peeled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
- Cook carrots and turnips in salted boiling water for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash.
- Transfer to a food processor. Add sour cream, ginger, and butter and process for 15 to 20 seconds, or until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chives.
CHOCOLATE-IRISH CREAM CHEESECAKE
SERVES 14 to 16
1 1/2 cups crushed digestive biscuits or graham crackers
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur
3 large eggs, beaten
Fresh berries, for serving
Mint leaves, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- In a medium bowl, combine crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan; bake for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add chocolate and Irish cream; mix again. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition on low speed; pour over crust.
- Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack; let cool for 20 minutes. Run knife around the rim to loosen and let cool completely before removing the side of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Slice and serve with berries and garnish with mint..
Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page now includes “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, including how to order her cookbooks, visit www.irishcook.com.