A few years ago, I was in charge of preparing an Easter lunch for my family. We were a small group that year, and decided on classic Southern brunch food – grits, fruit, ham. But a whole ham would have been more than enough food for our group. We would have had leftovers for years. But most of the smaller hams on the market are pressed hams, and I am not into that. And I didn’t want to serve pre-sliced pieces from a plastic package either.
I was standing at the deli counter, contemplating whether or not there was some kind of compromise I could work out. And I saw the Canadian bacon. They sell it sliced, like any deli meat, but of course behind the counter, they have it in whole chunks. It took some explaining to the deli supervisor, but I went home with a big chunk of cured Canadian bacon. I realized I could treat it both like a ham and like bacon, baking it with a sweet, sticky glaze and serving it sliced. And it was a hit. Perfect for a small gathering, and perfect with the classic brunch accompaniments. You can slice it thick or thin, as you like, but basically serve as you would ham. If there are any leftovers, it is amazing on sandwiches or try an eggs benedict – the tangy, sweet edges on the bacon add a special touch.
Glazed Canadian Bacon
2 pounds Canadian bacon, one piece, unsliced
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon bourbon
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon cane syrup, molasses or maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Generous grinds of black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking dish with parchment or non-stick foil.
Place the piece of Canadian bacon in the prepared dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cane syrup, mustard, mustard powder, ginger and pepper. Brush half the glaze over the bacon, spreading along the sides and ends. Add one Tablespoon of water to the baking dish.
Bake the bacon until it reaches and internal temperature of 165°. This should take about an hour. About 20 minutes into the cooking time, spoon the remaining glaze over the bacon and continue cooking. When the bacon is done, leave it to rest for 5 minutes or so before slicing and serving. It can be served warm or at room temperature.
Serves 8 – 10