Tamarack Vermont Sheep Farm, Corinth, Vt.
Not sure what to serve your family this Easter. I can help!
Every year around this time, folks start thinking about what to serve on their table for Easter Dinner. Perennially, ham and lamb seem to be the most popular items. However, if you’re like most families, ham dinner is likely the norm. But it doesn’t have to be normal or boring.
I’ll focus on Ham first. Whether your family traditionally does whole hams, spiral hams, fresh hams, easy-carve hams, or something on a smaller scale—such as a petit ham or a nice, thick-cut ham steak—I have some great recommendations for you.
Try spiral hams from Triple M, McKenzie of Vermont, and North Country Smokehouse of Claremont, New Hampshire. Spiral hams are great for bigger families or dinner parties, and easy to carve.
Bigger “block hams” come bone-in, and can be cut to your specifications. Folks like the bone-in flavor, and bonus: the bone can be saved for future meals such as baked beans, or French Canadian-style pea soup.
Easy carve hams are available from McKenzie, Triple M, North Country and Boar’s Head. Generally, warmed up in the oven at 350 degrees, for no more than an hour, these hams are easy to carve out in portion-sized slices.
“Fresh” hams are simply just pork. They are a portion of the leg that is just plain pork, no smoke and no cure, just a blank canvas of pork for those wishing to add their own touch, and flavorings. Typically, these are larger sized amounts of meat. In the 15-20 pound range. But you could ask your butcher to cut one specific to your needs.
For those with smaller size-portions in mind, or something on a less than party-size scale, try petit hams, suitable for 3-5 people. There are plenty available in either conventional, or antibiotic-free offerings.
Another way to go is ham steak. In my opinion, delicious, cut-to-order ham steaks is the way to go.
I learned a delicious recipe from my wife’s grandmother, and to this day I look forward to it every time we have it. It starts with a 2-inch thick, full ham steak (your butcher will know what this means). You then take a PYREX or oven-safe casserole dish and put your ham steak in it. Prepare on the side a rub consisting of: 1 cup of dark or light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of clove. Mix well together and apply to the entire surface of the ham steak. Fill the outskirts of the steak with milk, no more than halfway up the side of the steak. Bake in an oven at a 325 degrees for no more than 1 hour. This will come out so tender and flavorful—it’s the only way to bake ham steak!
So, I hope that helps with your ham decisions. (I really want ham now!!!)
As far as lamb, the Upper Valley has a great selection of lamb offerings as well. My recommendation is local Vermont-raised lamb from Tamarack Farm in Corinth, Vt.
Choose from bone-in or boneless lamb legs, lamb shoulder roasts, fancy frenched lamb racks (all cut to your specific needs), lamb top rounds, or for those wishing to do a traditional shepherd’s pie, fresh ground lamb. Local lamb it top quality, and always fresh. One hundred percent guaranteed delicious!
No matter which side of the fence you decide on for your family’s Easter meal, ham or lamb, follow the advice above and make your dinner party a success!
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