Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives.”—Alexander Dumas
This Post is sponsored by Farmer John but all words, opinions, and enthusiasm for bacon and ham are my own!
I am fortunate in my friends. They are some of the most generous people I’ve ever met. Their friendship is steadfast and unconditional. And spending time with them always lifts my spirits. Reflecting on the past year, its ups and downs, and with the upcoming holiday serving as a reminder to be thankful year-round, I find myself feeling especially grateful for my friends this year, near and far.
You could argue that every day is Friendsgiving at my place. Just show up and bring your appetite. I only wish I had more friends close by. Every day I have a myriad of dishes that need tasting, sampling, consuming. There is simply no way I can do it all myself. Simon and I do our best but the holidays are upon us—I’m essentially cooking non-stop. And every recipe, every photographed dish elicits the following barrage of messages: Where’s my invite?! Save me some! Can I come over? To which I genuinely reply, “it’s an open invitation”… I can always use help eating!
Today’s feast is no different. I whipped up a delicious brown sugar, bourbon, and apple cider glaze to christen this glorious Farmer John Ham. Their Gold Wrapped Whole Hams are not kidding around. It’s large enough to feed all your Friendsgiving guests, fully cooked (which saves a lot of time), and ready to eat—but I enjoy warming it up in the oven with my own special glaze for the holidays.
If you found your way to my cozy apartment today, you could smell this spiced and spiked cider-glazed ham before walking through the front door—you’d never want to leave. What is it about baked ham that makes it so tantalizing and appealing? In addition to the Farmer Jonh ham I also used their All-Natural Bacon to make some sweet and savory hasselback sweet potatoes infused with the saltiness of the bacon, brown sugar, spices, and topped with candied pecans! It’s a decadent side dish that deserves to make an appearance on your holiday table. I also whipped up a few green sides because #balance. But the All Natural Bacon adds a little something to almost any side dish!
The most idyllic part of throwing a Friendsgiving feast is not making all the dishes yourself! Everyone comes together to cook and share and eat and revel in the festivities. This holiday is no so much about a day or time of year for me, rather it’s about people—friends and family coming together and making memories. For me, food is such an integral part of so many fond memories. I know this gathering will be no different.
Farmer John Whole Ham with Brown Sugar Cider Glaze
- 1 FARMER JOHN® Gold Wrap Whole Ham
- 2 Cups Apple Cider
- ¾ cups brown sugar
- ¼ cup bourbon (optional)
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- Pinch of ground pink peppercorns, optional
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Hassleback Sweet Potatoes with Farmer Johns All Natural Bacon and Brown Sugar
- 5 Sweet Potatoes (about 5 oz. each)
- 12 oz FARMER JOHN® All- Natural Bacon
- 1 ½ Tbsp. minced sage
- 4 Tbsp. melted butter
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbps. olive oil
- ½ Cup chopped candied pecans
To Make the Ham
- Preheat oven to 325°F. You’re going to want to heat your ham for about 15 minutes for every lb. Mine was 15 lbs. and took about 4 hours.
- Score ham by making diagonal cuts approximately ¼ in. deep and 1 inch apart across the surface of the ham. Then make cuts in the opposite direction to make a diamond pattern. This isn’t essential but the results are far more aesthetically pleasing plus it creates grooves for the cider glaze!
- Place ham in a roasting dish or deep baking dish, cover with foil and heat for about two hours before applying first coat of glaze.
- To make the glaze combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by about half and begins to thicken. If you have trouble getting the glaze to thicken mix 2 tsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. water and whisk into the glaze.
- When glaze thickens remove from heat.
- Baste your ham every 20 minutes for the last 1 ½ to 2 hours of cooking time.
Allow the ham to rest 5-10 minutes before carving.
Farmer John has helpful carving tips you can find here!
To Make the Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash potatoes and cut a small slice out along one side so they lie flat.
- To make thin, precise cuts place each potato between two chopsticks (for stability and to prevent the knife from cutting through the bottom of the potato). Carefully cut potatoes, stopping at the chopstick, about ¼ to 1/8 inch thick.
- Arrange on the baking sheet, drizzle potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt, trying to get some in between the sliced layers.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile fry the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until crispy and drain on paper towels.*
- Mince about 4 slices of the bacon, and roughly chop the rest.
- Remove the sweet potatoes and carefully stuff minced bacon bits and sage between the slices.
- Mix melted butter with brown sugar and drizzle on top of potatoes.
- Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until tender.
- Top with chopped pecans and reserved bacon.
*You can also bake bacon in the oven @ 325°F for about 20-25 minutes or until crisp, for perfectly crisp bacon and way less mess!