How to Glaze a Ham (or Any Other Meat)

Glazes add flavor to veggies and proteins little to no effort. Here's all you need to know to become a glazing pro—plus recipes!

By: Anna Decker / 11/09/2016

If you're looking to bring flavor to a protein or vegetable in a quick and easy way, look no further than the glisten and beauty of a simple glaze!

A glaze is a sauce that is cooked onto a protein or vegetable so that the sugars caramelize, get slightly sticky, and adhere to whatever it is that you're cooking.

Perfecting a glaze, like most cooking, is a matter of formula.

Ingredients in a Glaze

  1. Use some form of sugar—whether it be honey, granulated sugar, molasses, jelly, jam or preserves
  2. Add an aromatic element like ginger, lemongrass, garlic, miso—essentially a strong, distinct flavor
  3. Use a liquid such as soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, or broth of any variety (chicken, beef, pork, vegetable, etc.)
  4. And a bonus component, if it suits your taste, add something spicy for a little kick! Chipotle, chili flakes, harissa, hot sauce, all work well, and even jarred pepper jelly is a self contained glaze in itself—just add liquid!

Pro Tips for Making a Glaze

  • When cooking with a glaze, your meat or vegetables need to be almost fully cooked through before applying the glaze.
  • Apply it at the very end of cooking process, as prolonged cooking can cause the high sugar content to burn and become bitter.
  • When grilling or broiling, brush the glaze with a pastry brush, or when cooking in a pan, pour the glaze in, allow it to simmer and reduce until it becomes sticky in the pan.

We're big fans of glazes in the Martha & Marley Spoon test kitchen. On our upcoming menu is a beautiful fall dish featuring pork chops, squash, and brussels sprouts, topped with a variation on a glaze called Agrodolce, an Italian convention that combines sweet and sour to make something wonderful.

Pork Chops and Squash with Brussels Sprouts Agrodolce

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Pork chops and squash with brussels sprouts agrodolce

Agrodolce is a traditional Italian sweet and sour sauce, made with vinegar and sugar and turns into a syrupy glaze. We’ve added raisins, chopped shallots, and a touch of crushed red pepper for a bit of sweet heat. Pork chops are seared to a beautiful golden brown, and the veggies come together when tossed in the agrodolce.

This past week, three recipes were delivered in your boxes that also highlight this treasured sweet & sticky technique. Find the recipes below, plus 6 more of our favorites from our archives. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

Maple Glazed Chicken with Brussels Sprouts & Red Onion

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Maple glazed chicken with brussels sprouts & red onion

Glazed chicken can feel like the ultimate decadence, but in reality, maple syrup and fresh orange juice provide a lovely all-natural sweetness that is balanced by a little heat from crushed red pepper. Brussels sprouts and red onion are roasted to crisp perfection as the perfect accompaniment to tender chicken.

Miso-Glazed Tofu & Carrots with Greens, Grains, and Furikake

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Miso-glazed tofu & carrots with greens, grains, and furikake

We think this dish is as fun to eat as it is to say! Furikake is a Japanese seasoning condiment that packs loads of sweet, salty, and briny flavor. It’s usually sprinkled over rice, but we love how it transforms tofu into something super special.

Sweet and Sticky Chicken with Bok Choy and Rice

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Sweet and sticky chicken with bok choy and rice

The secret to this dish is a brown sugar syrup infused with fresh ginger. A few other special additions (tamari and rice vinegar) transform this caramel glaze into the most flavorful sweet and savory coating for chicken. All you’ll want on the side are tender steamed bok choy and sticky rice to soak up the sauce. This meal is what we always hope Chinese takeout will taste like: super flavorful and elegant.

Here are four more favorites to try. Go forth and glaze!

Sticky Glazed Salmon

Sticky Wings and Iceberg Wedges

Tamari-Glazed Tofu Bok Choy

Honey Mustard Chicken with Potato Celery and Apple Salad

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