Ham with Muscadet and Herby Crème Fraîche

Steal the show with this sophisticated holiday ham
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Ham with Muscadet and Herby Creme Fraiche, our Test Kitchen's lighter, gluten-free dish
Photo: Tasting Table

Nothing says "happy holidays" like a hunk of tender ham, crisped on the outside and thinly sliced. Whether you're stressing over the big centerpiece dish for your holiday gathering or just craving fatty, cured pork, this is the ham for you. Skip the cheesy pineapple slices and make a more sophisticated ham with a tangy mustard glaze and herb-spiked cream sauce.

To learn more, read "Ham-mer Time."

Ham with Muscadet and Herby Crème Fraîche

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 14-plus servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes


For the braise

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 fresh bay leaf

1 head of garlic, cut horizontally to expose cloves

3 sprigs of thyme

3 parsley stems

2 cups of Muscadet wine

4 cups water

1 10-pound whole cured, smoked, bone-in ham, fat scored crosswise

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the glaze

½ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup dry mustard

½ cup Muscadet wine

For the sauce

2 cups crème fraîche

2⅓ tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon thyme

2½ tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2½ teaspoons coarsely ground black peppercorn

1 teaspoon lemon zest

⅛ teaspoon salt


1. Start the braise: Remove the ham from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for two hours prior to cooking. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook until soft but not colored, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaf, garlic, thyme and parsley stems and cook for 2 minutes. Add the Muscadet wine, bring to a simmer and let cook for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the vegetables and liquid to a large roasting pan. Place the ham on top of the mixture and add the water. Tent the ham with foil and bake, basting with pan juices every 15 minutes, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

2. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar, dry mustard and Muscadet wine and set aside.

3. Make the herby crème fraîche: In a medium bowl, mix together the crème fraîche, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, capers, thyme, parsley, black peppercorns, lemon and salt. Set aside.

4. Remove the ham from the oven and increase the heat to 350°. Using a pastry brush, spread the glaze over the ham. Return the pan, uncovered, to the oven and bake the ham until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes.

5. Transfer the ham to a cutting board and tent with foil. Rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

6. While the ham is resting, strain the braising liquid through a sieve over a medium bowl. Transfer 4 cups of the strained braising liquid to a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and reduce by half, about 8 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the butter and transfer the pan sauce to a small bowl.

7. Slice the ham. Serve with the herby crème fraîche and pan sauce.

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