Entrees for a special Easter feast
In a few days we’ll be sitting down to Easter dinner and whether that dinner is for two or twenty, formal or casual, it should be as special as those enjoying it.
Many will be celebrating with a baked glazed ham. To make it extra tender and juicy try marinating in a solution of orange juice and ginger ale before baking. The process seems to leach some of the saltiness from the ham and the orange flavor is delightful.
For a smaller group of guests, a turkey breast is a good choice, especially if cooked on the barbecue grill. This method not only leaves more room in the oven for sides, but adds a divine smokiness. The yummy spinach and bacon stuffing nestled between the meat and skin is sure to be a special hit.
Another popular option, roast beef, is surprisingly easy to prepare. Simply season with salt and pepper and any other herbs and seasonings you prefer and bake according to the recipe. Take the guesswork out of the cooking time for desired doneness with the help of a meat thermometer, preferably a digital one. Let the roast rest 15 to 30 minutes to distribute juices. Carve against the grain for the tenderest bite.
Marinated Baked Ham
1 (8-pound) smoked fully cooked ham half
2 cups orange juice
2 cups ginger ale
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp. dry mustard
Directions: Place ham in a large plastic zipper bag. Pour orange juice and ginger ale over ham. Seal bag. Place ham down in a large bowl and refrigerate 8 hours, turning occasionally.
When ready to cook, remove ham from marinade, reserving marinade. Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake in 325-degree F. oven for 2 1/2 hours, basting occasionally with marinade.
Remove ham from oven; remove skin. Score fat on ham in a diamond design. Combine brown sugar, marmalade and mustard. Coat exposed portion of ham with sugar mixture. Return ham to oven and bake, uncovered, an additional 30 minutes or till meat thermometer registers 140 degrees. Serves 16.
5 to 7-pound bone-in turkey breast
2 T. butter, softened
1/3 cup butter
1 cup (2 stalks) celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
6 slices crisply cooked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup bread cubes
Directions: In large skillet melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute till onion is translucent. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
To stuff breast, turn turkey breast side down. Gently loosen skin from meat in neck cavity. With fingers, work the stuffing in-between the meat and the skin (any extra stuffing may be placed in a foil pan, covered and heated during last 30 minutes of grilling.) Secure skin over stuffing with wooden picks. Lightly rub turkey with butter.
Prepare charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking. For charcoal place the coals to one side and heat till coals are ash white. Make a foil drip pan and place under grill rack opposite the charcoal. For gas, heat all burners. Turn off one side and place drip pan under the rack on that side.
Place breast on grill rack over the foil drip pan. Grill about 2 hours or till meat thermometer reaches 180 to 185-degrees F. and turkey is fork tender. Cut breast into slices to serve. Serves 6.
Perfect Beef Roast
3 to 4-pound beef roast (rib-eye, top or bottom round, rump)
1 T. salt
1 to 2 tsps. ground black pepper
Directions: Allow roast to reach room temperature (about 1 hour.) Preheat oven to 325-degree F. Stir together salt and pepper and rub into roast. For more flavor, add other herbs and seasonings to the rub, as desired.
Place roast on wire rack in shallow baking pan, fat-side-up (so fat drips through meat while roasting.) Bake roast, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to determine desired doneness. If drippings begin to dry out in bottom of pan add a bit of water or beef broth.
For medium-rare cook to an internal temperature of 125-degrees, for medium 135-degrees F. and for well-done 155-degrees F. After removing roast from oven, transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest at least 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes (meat will continue to cook.) Reserve pan drippings for gravy. Thinly slice against the grain to serve. Serves 6 to 8.