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Turkey ham is a dish made from processed, cured turkey meat. To make turkey ham, a piece of turkey is rolled up, tied with string or placed in a cooking net, and smoked.
Turkey ham is popular because it’s a low-fat, healthy source of protein that’s easy to prepare and readily available.
Contrary to its name, there is no ham or pork in turkey ham. Turkey ham was so-called because the piece of meat looks similar to a piece of ham.
Turkey ham is ready-cooked, but before serving it, you should heat up the turkey ham in a sauce or with a glaze.
Follow this recipe for the best turkey ham in apricot and mustard glaze.
Difficulty level: Easy
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30–60 minutes, depending on size
Ingredients & Equipment
- 1 large oven-proof baking dish
- 1 small oven-proof baking dish
- Measuring cup or measuring jug
- Measuring spoons
- Wooden spoon
- Marinade brush
- Medium-sized bowl
- Chef’s knife
Ingredients for the turkey ham:
- 2–4 pounds turkey ham
- 1 can apricots halves, drained (reserve the juice)
Ingredients for the glaze:
- 1 cup reserved apricot juice (top up with water to make 1 cup if there isn’t enough juice)
- 2–3 teaspoons cornstarch (or a similar cornstarch substitute)
- 2 tablespoons mustard powder
- ½ cup apricot marmalade
Apricot marmalade isn’t always available. If you can’t find apricot marmalade, you can substitute orange marmalade.
How to Make Turkey Ham (Step-by-Step)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Preparing the Glaze
- Place the apricot juice and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in a saucepan
- Heat the juice over a medium flame, stirring with a wooden spoon until the juice thickens. Gradually add another teaspoon of cornstarch if more thickening is needed
- Add mustard powder and stir
- Add marmalade and stir
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside
Preparing the Turkey Ham
- Score the ham in criss-cross diagonal lines
- Place the ham in an oven dish
- Brush glaze over the ham, covering the entire surface of the ham
- Bake the turkey ham, uncovered, in the oven for 15 minutes per pound (for example, a 4-pound turkey ham would take 1 hour to cook)
- Baste the turkey ham once or twice with glaze during the cooking time
- Place the apricot halves in the small oven dish and pour half the remaining glaze over the apricots
- Bake the apricots for 10 minutes
- Slice the turkey ham and pour the remaining glaze over the slices
- Serve the glazed ham with the baked apricots
Tips for Perfect Turkey Ham
Turkey ham is easy to make, but here are a few tips to help you to get the recipe absolutely perfect.
Ensure the Glaze Doesn’t Burn
The glaze can burn easily if it’s left to sit in the saucepan. To prevent the glaze from burning, keep the flame at a medium level, and keep stirring the glaze constantly as it thickens.
Use the Right Spoon
A wooden spoon is the best spoon to use for the glaze, because the handle doesn’t get hot, and you can stir constantly without burning yourself on the handle of the spoon.
With a wooden spoon, you can scrape the bottom of the saucepan without damaging the surface, allowing you to ensure that the glaze is thoroughly mixed through and doesn’t contain any lumps.
Use the Right Size Dish
The right size oven dish is crucial. The piece of turkey ham should fit snugly into the dish, without too much empty space on the sides. If the dish is too big, the glaze spreads and burns on the bottom of the empty space in the dish, giving the turkey ham a burnt taste.
Use the Best Basting Brush
Basting the ham during cooking ensures that the ham is well-glazed and deliciously moist. The glaze is sticky, and you need a brush that can cope with the sticky consistency.
Use a good quality basting brush that won’t lose its bristles in the basting process. The best basting brush to use for turkey ham is a silicone basting brush.
Calculate the Cooking Time Accurately
Turkey ham is already cooked and only needs to be fully heated through in the glaze. Overcooking turkey ham will make it dry and tough. Turkey ham needs to cook for 15 minutes per pound to heat all the way through.
Use a Meat Thermometer
To know when you’ve achieved a perfectly cooked turkey ham, you can use a meat thermometer. The turkey ham is ready when the internal temperature reaches 135–140°F.
Use the Right Slicing Knife
The right knife helps you to slice your turkey ham perfectly. A chef’s knife with a pointed tip and a blade of 8–12 inches is the best knife for slicing turkey ham. The knife must be sharp, allowing you to slice through the ham with ease.
Turkey Ham Variations
Replacing the Apricots
If you don’t like apricots, or you can’t find canned apricots, you can replace the apricots in this recipe with canned peaches or pineapple chunks.
Peaches are sweeter than apricots, and peaches don’t have the slightly sour edge that apricots have. If you have a sweet tooth, you can substitute canned peaches and juice for canned apricots and juice.
Pineapple has a sweet and tart flavor that goes well with turkey ham. If you use pineapple chunks and juice instead of apricot halves and juice, the turkey ham will have more of a tangy flavor but is equally delicious.
Skipping the Mustard
Some people don’t enjoy the flavor of mustard. If mustard isn’t your thing, you can replace the mustard powder in this recipe with 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika.
Sweet paprika gives the turkey ham a more peppery taste compared to mustard powder, which gives the turkey ham a more spicy taste. Sweet paprika works well in this recipe in place of mustard powder, giving you turkey ham with a kick.