Mustard and Brown Sugar-Rubbed Ham With Balsamic-Roasted Onions

Sunday Supper

Cooking projects for people who'd like nothing more than to spend a sunday afternoon surrounded by the wonderful aromas of the kitchen.


Ham leans more savory than sweet thanks to a mustard, brown sugar and balsamic rub. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Growing up, ham wasn't my favorite thing. It was usually dry, with a cloying glaze I just didn't understand. As an adult, I decided to make some changes and fix those problems. This ham, with a bright, sharp glaze comes served with sweet-tangy pearl onions roasted right in the meaty pan drippings.

Instead of the standard extra-sweet glaze, I like to prepare mine with something a little more vinegary and spicy—a mixture of Dijon mustard, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Using a moderate 325°F and basting the meat every 20 minutes while cooking helps it achieve a nice, even browning while stll maintaining some internal moisture. If it starts to get too dark, I just tent it with a bit of foil. I toss onions with a bit of honey, more vinegar, and olive oil. The ham provides all the rest of the flavor they need.

When you serve the ham, it's as good warm as it is room temperature. However, you're going to want to drizzle the pan juices on top, once you've drained the liquid of fat. If you, like me, were a ham skeptic growing up, this might be the one to convert you.