Christmas dinner can be festive — and thrifty — with this $60 feast for 4

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The centerpiece is a glazed ham, and the good news is that hams are available in many sizes. A boneless ham portion of about three pounds is ample for four people, with leftovers so you can think about ham and biscuit sandwiches, bean soups studded with chopped ham, grilled ham and cheese, maybe a quiche Lorraine later in the week.

If this all sounds really good, you might go for a four-pound ham.

I cannot tell you how much my family likes my Cheddar Potato Gratin. There is nothing frugal about this lush dish. If you have a few more dollars to throw into the pot, treat yourself to some top-of-the-line cheddar. Leftovers will be fought over (and in my house, I will win, because I will know where they are hidden in the fridge).

And then the humble cabbage is transformed into a silky, jewel-toned side dish. This whole side is the sum total of about $3 worth of ingredients (a fact you can keep to yourself). When cabbage is first seared and then braised, it becomes meltingly tender, with a sweetness complemented by a level of flavor you can only get with caramelization — and a knob of butter.

Tie it all together with a simple lettuce salad with a mix of any of your favorite lettuces. You can go robust (endive, radicchio, escarole), mild (butter, bibb, mesclun), or somewhere in the middle. Toss it with a tangy vinaigrette to round the plate out with a little acidity and texture.

If you have leftover cream from another dish, whip a cup or so with a touch of powdered sugar and vanilla and bloop it next to the plated pears for an even grander finale.

The $60 total presumes you have some things on hand (such as peppercorns, oil, vinegar and salt), but otherwise you should be able to stick to this budget.

Drinks are not included, but, if you’re on a budget, go into your favorite wine store or grocery, share your menu with them, give them a price limit and ask for recommendations. Think about prosecco or cava as your sparkling wine — cheaper than champagne, but just as effervescent and cheery. Or try sparkling apple cider!

Happy and merry and cheers to all. Here’s how we recommend tackling this meal: Poach the pears first — or even a day before the meal. On the day you plan to serve, make the potato gratin first. Then, lower your oven temperature and make the ham and cabbage, which cook at the same temperature. While they cook, finish preparing the dessert and make the salad.

When you remove the ham from the oven, re-cover the potatoes and slip them back in the oven to reheat for about 10 minutes before serving.

Apricot-Bourbon Glazed Ham

A store-bought cooked ham doesn’t need additional cooking to be safe to eat, but baking it a second time allows you to add a lacquer-like glaze that provides sweet tanginess.

Make Ahead: The glaze can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Storage notes: Leftover ham can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves or jam
  • 2 teaspoons minced or finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • One (3-pound) cooked boneless ham

Step 1

Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line a shallow baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.

In a small bowl, combine the apricot preserves, ginger and bourbon and mix until well combined.

Step 2

Using a sharp paring knife, score the ham by making crosshatch cuts all over the surface about 1/2 inch deep and 1/2-inch apart, creating a square or diamond pattern. Place the ham cut side down in the baking pan and brush it with about a third of the glaze.

Step 3

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Brush the ham with another third of the glaze. Bake for about 45 minutes longer, then brush with the remaining glaze. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the ham is nicely browned and caramelized on the outside.

Remove the ham from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 478; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 151 mg; Sodium: 2940 mg; Carbohydrates: 32 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 32 g; Protein: 72 g.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.



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