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In the Philippines, families celebrate Christmas Eve -- known there as Noche Buena -- with a feast at midnight that includes a variety of traditional dishes, including hamon, or Christmas ham. Filipino-style ham is typically prepared with a ready-to-eat ham that is boiled, then baked after being covered with a glaze based on pineapple juice and brown sugar. If you're on a sodium-restricted diet, consume ham only occasionally: A 3-ounce serving of cured ham can contain nearly 1,000 milligrams of sodium, or almost 45 percent of the daily recommended limit for healthy adults.
Put the fully cooked, ready-to-eat bone-in ham in a large stock pot. Add enough pineapple juice mixed with brown sugar to cover the ham. Plan on approximately 1 cup of brown sugar for every 8 cups of pineapple juice used.
Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat so the liquid is at a gentle simmer, then allow the ham to cook for one hour.
Remove the ham from the stock pot and let it cool. Use a sharp knife to remove the ham's skin and to make diagonal slashes along the surface of the meat. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan.
Boil brown sugar and water in a small saucepan, using 1 cup of sugar for every 1/2 cup of water. Use a pastry brush to coat the ham with the thickened glaze.
Bake the ham in a preheated oven until it is browned and warmed through, about 20 minutes. Cover the ham with foil and let it stand, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Basic Report - 10865, Pork, Cured, Ham -- Water Added, Rump, Bone-in, Separable Lean Only, Heated, Roasted
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Most Americans Should Consume Less Sodium
- Kainpinoy.com: The Christmas Ham - A Filipino Tradition
- For a more traditional presentation, insert whole cloves into the ham before baking. Garnish the finished ham with drained canned pineapple slices and maraschino cherries.
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