Not your mama’s Easter ham

By Kristy Alpert

Ham is to Easter what turkey is to Thanksgiving, but oftentimes, dolling out your mom’s tried and true recipe—you know, the one with pineapples and cherries—this time of year can leave your holiday feeling stale and routine.

From spicing up your Easter ham with Peruvian flare to opting for organic, this Easter, instead of serving the same ham your mom always cooked, try a new take with one of these five chef-approved recipes.

Ham with Wasabi-Pineapple Sauce

By Chef Walter Staib, proprietor of City Tavern Restaurant an Emmy Award winning host of A Taste of History

“Ginger and wasabi mix beautifully together,” says Staib, who’s been making this recipe for five years since wasabi mustard and other Japanese ingredients became more available for home chefs. “The sauce for the ham works with multiple accompaniments and will meld well with the dishes your family already has come to love. This is a wonderful addition that will surprise your guests, but it won’t shock them; it gives just a hint of something new.”

Recommended pairings:

  • Mashed or roasted potatoes
  • Stir fried Brussels sprouts deglazed with soy, ginger and garlic
  • Pinot Grigio, sake or a German Riesling that can stand up to the spice

Easter Ham with Pisco Sauce

By Peruvian Chef and Caterer Marita Lynn, executive chef and restaurateur at Runa Restaurant
“I like to serve something that is savory and sweet at the same time,” Lynn admits of her favorite 5-year-old recipe. “This recipe is unique because the sauce uses dried fruit macerated in Pisco for one week before it’s used for the recipe. It is a recipe from scratch, and the ham is not smoked but features Peruvian flavors instead.”

Recommended pairings:

  • Roasted baby potatoes
  • Wild rice blend
  • Any vegetables, steamed or grilled
  • Pisco Sour, the official drink of Peru

Pierna De Cerdo Al Horno Estilo Yucatan (Yucatan-Style Roasted Ham)

By Chef Antonio Marquez, executive chef at Lazaranda

“I love the Yucatan style of cooking pork for this traditional recipe,” Marquez says. “My mom always uses this family-style recipe with pork meat, but it’s the sweet and spicy touch and axiote and orange-lime-honey-habanero that give the cooked ham its flavor. The recipe is simple, but take your time to do it; that makes the difference.”

Recommended pairings:

  •  Vegetables
  •  Chips and salsa

Momma’s Holiday Ham … Kindy Version

By Chef Kindy Girdley, owner of The Chic Pea Catering Company

“Ham is a timeless staple for many on Easter Sunday, and my mother always served a wonderful rendition of the classic,” Girdley says. “My twist isn’t too different from my mother’s, perhaps just a smidge healthier. I change it up just slightly by using an organic/free-range ham; health-food-store cola; freshly squeezed, organic orange juice; organic brown sugar; cloves; fresh nutmeg and I like to put a few rosemary sprigs in the bottom of the pan with the juices.”

Recommended pairings:

  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Peas, made with roasted onions, butter and fresh mint with a pinch of sugar

Mojo Marinated Fresh Ham with South Carolina Ginger Beer Glaze

By Chef Jeff Cali, executive sous chef for the Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, S.C. 

“Being raised in Tampa, Florida, I have been around a good deal of Cuban-influenced cuisine,” Cali explains. “Mojo Pork is usually reserved for Noche Buena in the Latin community, but with my Italian-American upbringing, we ate the more traditional fare for Christmas time. So I always thought to switch things up for my family and would do a great version of a fresh ham for Easter. The Ginger Beer Glaze is my own sweet twist that makes the ham pop!”

Recommended pairings:

  • Black beans and white rice
  • Plantains



Ham with Wasabi-Pineapple Sauce

A recipe by Chef Walter Staib

Serves 4

1 5 pound bone-in ham or 3 pound spiral ham

1 recipe ham glaze, see below

1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1/3 C white wine

2 Tbsp wasabi mustard

2 C demi-glace

1 C chopped pineapple

  1. Pour ham glaze on bone-in ham and bake according to directions until warmed through.
  2. When done, remove the ham from the baking pan and set on a cutting board to rest.
  3. Place the baking pan on the stove over high heat. Add the ginger and sauté for one minute.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, loosening any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a whisk.
  5. Whisk in the wasabi mustard, demi-glace and pineapple. Bring to a boil and reduce by one-third.
  6. Serve on the side with the ham.


Easter Ham Glaze

Makes enough for one ham

1 C brown sugar

½ C honey

Juice of 1 lemon

White wine, as needed


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, honey and lemon juice.
  2. Whisk in just enough white wine to make a paste.
  3. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake according to instructions.


Easter Ham with Pisco Sauce

A recipe by Peruvian Chef Marita Lynn

5lb fresh ham
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground pepper
½ tsp cumin
5 tsp Aji Amarillo paste
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp fresh minced rosemary
½ Tbsp fresh oregano
¼  C water
Salt to taste

For the sauce:
3 C Pisco
½ C raisins
½ C dried apricots, medium diced
¼ C pitted prunes, medium diced


  1. For the sauce, place all ingredients in a jar and seal to macerate for one week before cooking the ham.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well and rub half of the mixture all over the ham.
  4. Place the other half of the sauce on the bottom of a roasting pan and lay ham on top.
  5. Roast for approximately 3 hours. Add water as needed to the bottom sauce. Ham is done when it registers a temperature of 160 degrees.
  6. Remove from oven and set ham aside. Scrape sauce from the roasting pan and blend.
  7. Return blended mixture to a small pan and reheat.
  8. Adjust seasoning and add Pisco-marinated fruits.
  9. Simmer for a few more minutes to heat through and finally add Pisco.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. To serve, slice ham and serve with warm sauce.


Pierna De Cerdo Al Horno Estilo Yucatan (Yucatan-Style Roasted Ham)

A recipe by Chef Antonio Marquez

Serves 12

1 piece cooked ham, 4-5 lbs

Achiote paste:

1 C Axiote paste (anato seed paste)

Juice of three oranges

Juice of two lemons

1 C honey

½ C white vinegar

1 pinch fresh oregano

1 pinch black pepper, crushed

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix well for 30 seconds to form a paste. Set aside.


48 medium green onions

3 fresh habanero peppers

48 small red potatoes

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 pinch salt

1 pinch pepper

3 oz butter

½ C fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Four hours before cooking the pork, make some cuts with the point of a knife all over the cooked ham, then cover it with the Achiote Paste and refrigerate for four hours, turning every 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Wash and cut the red potatoes in half, cut the green onions leaving about 1 inch of the green part.
  4. In a baking tray, spread the butter in the bottom add in the green onions, habaneros, garlic cloves and potatoes, leaving space in the middle for the marinated ham, then season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the marinated ham in the middle, with all the marinated liquid, and cook it about 35 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Take out the vegetables to leave all the liquid in the roasting pan, set the vegetables aside and keep them warm and covered.
  7. Raise the temperature of the oven to 450F and put the ham inside again to glaze. Every 3-4 minutes with a ladle, pour some of the liquid from the bottom of the roasting pan on the ham. Repeat 4-5 times until it forms a caramelized top. Be careful not to dry all the sauce.
  8. Take the ham out of the oven, put it in a service plate, and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it.
  9. Pass the remaining sauce from the roasting pan trough a fine sieve and save it.
  10. Put the vegetables in a serving plate, be careful with the habanero peppers if you like very spicy food you can slice them very fine and mix with the vegetables, if not just take the habaneros with a fork from the vegetables and sprinkle them with fresh chopped cilantro.
  11. Serve the sliced ham and the salsa on side and garnish with the vegetables.


Momma’s Holiday Ham … Kindy Version

A recipe by Chef Kindy Girdley

1 organic/free-range 8-10 lb. bone-in ham

6 organic navel oranges

1-12 oz health food store cola

1 C organic brown sugar

Whole cloves

Fresh nutmeg, grated

2 rosemary sprigs


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Put your roasting rack in the roasting pan and un-wrap your ham to place on the rack.
  3. Score your ham and stick cloves in each “x” that the scored makes.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the freshly squeezed orange juice, cola, brown sugar and 8-10 grates of the fresh nutmeg.
  5. Pour over the ham and place the rosemary sprigs in the bottom of the pan with the marinade.
  6. Cover with foil and place in the oven for about 3-3.5 hours, leaving it alone.
  7. Take out, uncover and baste the ham thoroughly.
  8. Place back into oven for another 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 170 degrees at the thickest part of the ham, without touching the bone.
  9. Let cool slightly, slice it up and enjoy that ridiculously delicious ham!


Mojo Marinated Fresh Ham with South Carolina Ginger Beer Glaze

A recipe by Chef Jeff Cali

5 C fresh sour orange juice

1 C fresh lime juice

1 orange, zested

1 lime, zested

½ C finely chopped fresh oregano, divided

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp ground coriander

1 small Spanish yellow onion, minced

12 cloves garlic, chopped

½ C olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bone-in fresh pork ham (about 8 to 10-pounds), trimmed of excess fat


  • Combine 4 cups of the orange juice and 1 cup of the lime juice and zest in a large saucepan over high heat and reduce to 2 cups. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients and let cool to room temperature. When the marinade is cooled, add the pork and turn to coat, cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting. Season the pork with salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375F and continue roasting, basting with the marinade during the last 30 minutes of roasting until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 150 degrees F. Remove from the oven, baste with ginger beer glaze, tent loosely and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

Ginger Beer Glaze

4 bottles of local South Carolina Blenheim Ginger Ale

1 C brown sugar

½ cup honey

1 lb butter

¼ C lime juice


  1. Bring the ginger beer to a boil in medium sauce pot. Turn the heat down to medium low and reduce the ginger beer by half. Add in the remaining ingredients and return to a boil.
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