Ham It Up

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a gorgeous Virginia ham on the table. Recipes for a true classic.

You know it’s going to be there—served stand-alone, sliced onto biscuits or rolls, or in some other juicy guise. For Virginians, ham is a holiday must. Whether you’re shooting for the traditional tried-and-true or for something fresh and new, the following recipes will help you make the most of this holiday favorite.


Turner Ham


1 25-pound Turner Ham
1 cup brown sugar
whole cloves

Cook the ham according to package instructions. While still warm, cut the skin off with a sharp knife to expose the fat beneath. Score the fat layer on a diagonal to create a classic criss-cross pattern, making cuts ¼-inch deep. Coat the scored ham with brown sugar and stud each square with whole cloves. Return the ham to a 350-degree oven and glaze for 30 – 45 minutes or until desired color has been achieved. Slice to serve.


Nimmy Farley’s Sourdough Ham Biscuits


2 cups “proofed” sourdough starter 
2 ¾ cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar or molasses (sorghum molasses is best)
½  teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
¼  cup of butter
½  cup of buttermilk
ham slices to taste

If you have a sourdough starter: Begin with 1 cup of starter and add 1 ½ cups flour and 1

Ham biscuits.

cup of water (it’s best to try to use less chlorinated water, which can be achieved by using water that’s left after boiling pasta, corn or potatoes). Let combination rest for 8 to 12 hours.

If you DON’T have starter: Using only wooden spoons, combine one cup of water and two cups of flour to one cup of beer in a glass or plastic bowl. Let rest for one to three days, depending upon atmospheric conditions and how much baking you do. When done, you will smell a distinctive sourdough smell. Use immediately or refrigerate.

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter and then add buttermilk. Let dough rest for 30 minutes. Handle dough as little as possible. Press out to desired thickness and cut into biscuit rounds. Bake at 400˚ for 15 minutes. Slice and lightly butter biscuits when done and add a layer of ham slices.


Grilled Chilled Figs, Smithfield Ham and Citrus Cream


2 Calimyrna figs
2 Black Mission figs
2 very thin slices of Smithfield ham

For citrus cream:

4 ounces mascarpone
4 ounces heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
zest of one lemon
juice of half lemon
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
pinch of salt

Mix citrus cream ingredients until smooth. Quarter figs. Arrange ham on plate and top with figs. Spoon cream around plate. Serves one. Multiply ingredients for additional servings.


Asparagus Pasta, with Peas and Surryano Ham


½ shallot, diced 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon butter 
4 mushrooms, quartered 
¼ cup peas 
1 ½ cups asparagus, woody ends snapped off and spears cut into 1-inch lengths 
1 cup cooked penne pasta 
¾ cup cream 
2 slices Surryano ham (or prosciutto), julienned

Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water until bright green and then shock briefly in an ice water bath to stop cooking. Sauté the shallot in olive oil and butter until soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden. Add the peas and asparagus, stirring until heated through. Add the cream and, over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, allow to thicken and reduce—about 5 minutes. Add the pasta and ham, toss until heated through, and serve.

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