(Family Features) This year, make your Easter ham effortless by ditching the oven and using your slow cooker instead. While most people think about slow cooking for staples like chili and stew, it’s also perfect for center-of-the-plate feasts — like an Easter ham.
Using the slow cooker, you can minimize both prep time and cleanup time, leaving plenty of room in the day for church, hunting eggs and enjoying time with your loved ones.
Ham is a tradition for many families this time of year, and because it pairs well with a multitude of ingredients, you can create a unique dish every time.
For a fresh spin on the classic ham, try this Sweet Southern Slow-Cooker Ham recipe from the National Pork Board. Apple cider and bourbon (or vanilla extract, if you prefer) combine to create a rich flavor complemented by the sweetness of brown sugar.
Round out your Easter menu by pairing your ham with classic sides such as oven-roasted carrots, asparagus wrapped in bacon and mashed sweet potatoes.
You can also use leftover ham for flavor-packed recipes like Ham, Apple and Cheddar Crepes, which are ideal for a family-style brunch.
Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes
Enter the National Pork Board’s Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes at PorkBeinspired.com/EasterHam for the chance to win an Easter gift basket with everything you need for this year’s celebration.
- 1 bone-in fully cooked ham, about 5 1/2 pounds
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Place ham in large slow cooker. Whisk cider with brown sugar, bourbon, honey and mustard. Slowly pour over ham. Scatter thyme sprigs into slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until very tender. Remove ham to rest on cutting board. Pass remaining cooking liquid through fine mesh sieve into saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Carve ham into serving pieces. Brush ham pieces with cooking liquid before arranging on platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4 to 8 hours
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
For a non-alcoholic alternative, replace the bourbon with 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
- 3 cups ham, shredded and warmed
- 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Pour milk, butter, eggs and salt in blender. Mix until well combined. Add flour. Mix for 15 to 20 seconds or until smooth. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat well with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, swirl to fully cover bottom of pan. Cook for 1 minute or until crepe begins to curl around edges. Carefully flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until set. Transfer to plate. Repeat with additional cooking spray and remaining batter. Layer cooked crepes between pieces of wax paper to prevent sticking.
- Lay a crepe on clean work surface. Arrange few slices of apple on quarter of crepe; top with shredded ham. Fold crepe in half to cover filling and fold in half again to create triangular shape. Repeat with remaining crepes, apple and ham. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and hold in warm oven until ready to serve, or up to 30 minutes.
- For cheese sauce, melt butter in saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in flour until well coated. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until pale and smooth. Whisk in milk, a splash at a time, until smooth; stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese, a small handful at a time, until melted and smooth.
- Place filled crepes on each plate. Spoon cheese sauce over each crepe and sprinkle with chives.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
All the elements of the recipe can be prepared a day in advance and gently warmed before assembling.
SOURCE: National Pork Board
- 5 tablespoons Organic Valley Cultured Unsalted Butter, divided
- 1/2 cup homemade bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup Organic Valley Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 pound organic dry pasta in elbow or other small tubular shape
- 4 tablespoons organic flour
- 4 cups Organic Valley Whole Milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 6 cups (24 ounces) grated Organic Valley Sharp and/or Mild Cheddar Cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and combine with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cook pasta per package directions, drain, and return to pot.
- In large heavy saucepan, melt remaining butter over low to medium heat. Add flour and whisk until golden. Add milk; continue whisking and cooking until sauce thickens slightly. Add dry mustard and grated cheese, whisking until cheese melts into sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
- Pour sauce over pasta and stir to combine well. Transfer macaroni to a 4-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden and bubbling.
6 to 8
Source Organic Valley
- 4 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 small leeks, trimmed and chopped
- 1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 large carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups Wolfgang Puck Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
- 3 large Russet potatoes, cut into cubes (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh chives
- Cook bacon in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from saucepan. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings. Add butter to saucepan and cook and stir until melted.
- Add leeks, onion, carrot and garlic to saucepan and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add flour and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in broth.
- Add potatoes and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and the broth mixture is thickened.
- Stir cream and cheese in saucepan and cook until cheese is melted. Season with black pepper. Crumble bacon. Sprinkle soup with bacon and chives before serving.
Makes 6 servings
- Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup Hungry Jack Buttermilk Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix (Just Add Water)
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- HEAT oven to 400°F. Spray cookie sheet with no-stick cooking spray.
- MIX sour cream and water in medium bowl until well combined. Add pancake mix, cheese and bacon pieces. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheet.
- BAKE 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with paprika. Serve warm.
Makes 24 appetizers
Source Hungry Jack
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons Old El Paso salsa
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese (6 ounces)
8 Old El Paso flour tortillas (8 inches in diameter)
4 teaspoons butter or margarine
Mash beans slightly; stir together with salsa, green onion, cilantro and cheese. Divide mixture among 4 tortillas, spreading almost to edges. Top with remaining tortillas.
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Cook 1 quesadilla in butter 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until brown. Cut into wedges. Repeat with remaining butter and quesadillas.
Makes 8 servings
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
- Cayenne (red) pepper to taste
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 pouch (7.1 ounces) Chicken of the Sea Skinless & Boneless Pink Salmon
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs, divided
- 3 tablespoons butter
- In small mixing bowl, combine chopped red pepper, green onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, seasoned salt and cayenne pepper.
- Adjust seasonings to personal preference. Stir in egg, salmon and 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs. Form mixture into 6 to 8 balls.
- Roll salmon balls in remaining breadcrumbs; flatten into cakes about 1/2 inch thick. Fry salmon cakes in melted butter over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side.