Ham for Easter dinner is an American tradition

By Angela Shelf Medearis

Boiled ham, painted Easter eggs and tulips on rustic table

Lamb is a popular dish around the world, especially at Easter. The tradition is rooted in the Jewish holiday of Passover, which celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. With all the history associated with serving lamb at Easter, you may wonder why ham is so popular for Easter celebrations in our country. As with many foods, the reason lamb isn’t as popular in America at Easter is rooted in supply, demand and cost.

Wool was a popular fabric during World War II, but as soon as the demand for wool began to wane, farmers began to raise fewer lambs, curtailing the availability of legs of lamb for sale in the spring for Easter dinners. Ham became a great alternative to lamb because farmers could cure and preserve the meat during the winter and sell it in the spring.

Ham also is a popular meat because it can be prepared in so many ways. This recipe for Glazed Ham with Roasted Vegetables is perfect for Easter, and with a few minor adaptations can be combined with leftover, peeled hard-boiled Easter eggs the next morning to create my Easter Egg Hash. Happy Easter!




1 (8 to 10 pound) fully cooked bone-in smoked half ham (not spiral sliced)

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup apricot jam

1/2 cup spicy brown mustard

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


Roasted Vegetables:

1 1/2 pound fingerlings, small red potatoes or new potatoes cut into halves

1 pound slender carrots, cut into 2 inch lengths

1 bunch radishes, tops trimmed and reserved, and cut into halves

1 tablespoon salt for parboiling

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for drizzling

2 tablespoons poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 pound of escarole, frisee, chicory or arugula leaves, or the tops of the radish leaves, if available, chopped


To Prepare the Ham and Glaze:

  1. Heat oven to 300 F. Place ham in a large roasting pan, cut side down. With tip of sharp knife, make long, crisscross diamond shaped cuts through the tough skin and fat of the ham, top to bottom, but not into the meat. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 1 1/2 hours.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, jam, mustard, poultry seasoning, pepper and cloves. Transfer 1 cup of the glaze to a separate bowl; cover and refrigerate to serve with the ham later.
  3. Remove foil from ham. Brush remaining glaze all over ham. Bake, uncovered, another 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until glaze is dark brown and internal temperature of ham has reached 140 F. Allow ham to rest 20 minutes before carving. Serve with reserved glaze. Serves 10-12.


To Prepare the Vegetables:

  1. Heat oven to 450 F. In a 7-quart saucepot, cover potatoes and carrots with cold water; add 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to maintain simmer; cook 7 minutes. Drain well and return to pot. Vegetables can be parboiled and refrigerated up to 2 days before roasting.
  2. Toss potatoes, carrots and radishes with oil, poultry seasoning, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper; arrange in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes or until vegetables are browned and tender, stirring twice.
  3. Remove vegetables from the oven; drizzle the salad greens with the remaining oil and mix the greens with the vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature with slices of ham.




This Easter Egg Hash recipe is a great use for leftover hard-boiled Easter eggs and the ham and veggies from your Easter dinner.


3 to 4 cups roasted vegetables and salad greens, chopped

2 to 4 slices cooked ham, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 large peeled hard-boiled Easter eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 green onions, roots removed and discarded, green and white parts finely chopped.


  1. Chop any leftover veggies and salad greens and chop up a few slices of ham to create 3 to 4 cups of hash. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil.
  2. Place the chopped roasted vegetables and ham mixture in the hot skillet. Using a spatula press the hash into an even layer in the skillet to create a crisp texture on the bottom of the hash.
  3. Cook undisturbed until crunchy and browned on the bottom, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the hash in sections. Using a spoon, make 4 shallow indentations in the hash. Place a peeled hard-boiled egg in each indentation. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the hash to brown on the bottom and the eggs to warm through. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with green onions, if desired. Serves 4.


Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.


© 2020 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis