Glazed: Brush some bountiful flavor into whatever meat you're planning for Easter

Orange and mint-stuffed lamb with sweet-and-sour cabbage is served on a plate in Concord, N.H. Glazes and rubs are the secret to moist and flavorful lamb.

Photo by Associated Press

Orange and mint-stuffed lamb with sweet-and-sour cabbage is served on a plate in Concord, N.H. Glazes and rubs are the secret to moist and flavorful lamb.

Want to make your Sunday Easter dinner special? Cloak your favorite roast or chops in a flavorful, shiny glaze. Glazed ham is a perennial favorite for Easter, but glazes also can enliven a lamb or pork roast, or roast turkey or chicken.

Even if you’re cooking for just one or two, a glaze is the perfect way to dress up a Cornish hen, pork chop, ham steak or lamb chop.

All glazes use a sweetener of some sort: white or brown sugar, jelly, molasses, honey or syrup. Other flavors are added with reductions of wine, whiskey or juice and aromatics such as herbs, ginger and garlic. Culinary alchemy occurs when the caramelized exterior of roasted or grilled meat combines with a salty-sweet, tangy glaze, so that in one bite you get a symphony of wonderful flavors.

What? Your recollection of your last glazed ham not so poetic? Perhaps the cloyingly sweet coating you recall was corn syrup mixed with frozen juice concentrate or the artificial flavoring from the reconstituted glaze packet packaged with the ham. But glazes can be much more sophisticated, and when you make the glaze yourself, you can cut down on the sweetness to suit your taste.

It takes just a couple of minutes to mix up a really tasty glaze, and you can make it ahead of time. Pour the glaze into a container, cover and refrigerate it for up to a week. If any glaze is too thick to spread when you remove it from the fridge, just reheat gently in a pan on the stove before using.

When deciding which glaze to make, match the glaze to the meat you are cooking so that the flavors complement, not overwhelm, each other. The saltiness of ham, for example, lends itself to sweet, hot or sour flavors. That’s why you see so many ham glaze recipes that use honey, mustard and citrus, but not soy sauce, which would add too much salt. The gaminess of lamb, on the other hand, holds up to salty, bold teriyaki-style glazes.

Double or triple the recipes if necessary to make enough glaze for a large roast. A 7- to 10-pound ham, for example, will need about 1 cup to 1½ cups of glaze. Extra glaze (about a quarter cup) can be stirred into pan juices to make a sauce to pass at the table.

BOURBON MANGO GLAZE

Ingredients

½ cup bourbon

½ cup mango jam (such as Goya brand)

¼ cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

1 Bring bourbon to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients over low heat until thick, about 5 minutes. Makes about a cup. Brush on ham, lamb, or Cornish hens during final 20 minutes of roasting time.

POMEGRANATE TAMARI GLAZE

Ingredients

2 teaspoons canola oil

½ small onion, minced or grated

1 glove garlic, grated

1 -inch piece of ginger, grated

1 cup pomegranate juice

¼ cup Tamari or low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preparation

1 Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened (but not browned), stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and heat until fragrant, about a minute. Add pomegranate juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar.

2 Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened and reduced.

3 Let cool, then transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about ¾ cup. Brush on grilled or roasted lamb, pork, salmon, Cornish hens, or chicken toward the end of the cooking time.

TEQUILA GLAZE

Ingredients

3 tablespoons agave

1 tablespoon tequila

¼ teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Pinch ground chipotle powder or cayenne pepper

Preparation

1 Mix together all ingredients. Makes about ¼ cup. Brush on grilled fish, pork chops, or chicken near end of cooking time.

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