Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Best Way to Use Leftover Easter Ham (Apricot Ham and Brie Panini)

Two years ago I made this Double-Apricot Glazed Ham for Easter lunch and, with some shared foodie genius between a friend and me, turned the leftovers into some killer paninis.

This year when I decided to contribute ham to house church Easter lunch, I am not embellishing when I tell you my thought process went like this: "I could do that apricot ham from a couple years ago. . . Which means I can make the paninis!!!"

Even beyond the panini potential, I'd highly recommend the apricot ham recipe to you. The apricot-Dijon glaze is what really makes this dish, so even if you want to use a different ham-roasting method or leave off the chopped apricots, make the glaze (sauce). You'll be glad you did.

Then slap some leftover ham slices between two pieces of bread, slather it with apricot glaze and Dijon mustard, toss in some brie, and grill it to crunchy, melty perfection. Mm-mmm!

After finding the ham recipe on All Recipes, I couldn't remember what (if any) alterations I'd made to the recipe two years ago, so I clicked through the reviews to see if any of them jogged my memory. Lo and behold! There was a review I had written, saying that I'd followed the recipe exactly! Thank you, two-years-ago self. Thank you.

Apricot Ham and Brie Panini


Bread of choice - I use white French/baguette-type bread
Slices of apricot ham (recipe below)
Apricot-Dijon glaze (from recipe below)
Dijon mustard
Brie cheese

On one slice of bread, spread apricot-Dijon glaze (sauce), and spread Dijon mustard on the other slice of bread. (If you spread both slices with the glaze it will be way too sweet.) Warm the ham in the microwave for about 20 seconds, and preheat a panini press or George Foreman grill. Place ham on top of bread, arrange pieces of brie on top, and top with the other piece of bread. Squish a bit if necessary. Grill for a few minutes, until cheese is melted and bread is crispy (with satisfactory grill marks, of course). Make as many or as few sandwiches as you wish.

If you don't have a panini press or George Foreman, you can get a similar effect using two skillets. Heat one skillet over the stove and put the sandwich in it. Use the bottom of the second skillet to press down on the sandwich while it cooks; flip the panini halfway through. I think I've also seen Rachael Ray use a brick--wrapped in foil and heated in the oven--to press her paninis when making them in a skillet on the stove.

Double-Apricot Glazed Ham

Adapted slightly from All Recipes
Yield: 36 servings

1 cup dried apricots
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock (or up to 1-1/2 cups if using slow cooker method)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6-lb. fully-cooked whole boneless ham (I used a 9-lb. bone-in spiral-sliced ham)
1-2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
24 oz. apricot preserves
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tsp. grated orange peel

Place apricots and stock in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let cool. Remove apricots, reserving stock, and cut into strips. Mix apricots, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the reserved stock.

To bake: Place ham in a roasting pan. Bake at 325 for 2 hours. Top with apricot mixture during last 30 minutes of baking, basting frequently with pan drippings.

Or to cook in a slow cooker: Place ham, cut side down, in a large slow cooker. Pour in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock (this would make the total chicken stock measurement above 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups). Top with apricot mixture. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then turn down to low for 1 hour, basting periodically with drippings.

Heat butter in a medium pan or skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until tender. Add preserves, mustard, orange rind, and remaining 3/4 cup reserved apricot-infused stock. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 10+ minutes, until slightly thickened, stirring frequently with a whisk.

If baking, allow ham to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with apricot-Dijon sauce.

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