easter dinner ideas

Recipe: Jezebel Ham

On the day that celebrates the resurrection of the Savior of the World it is common to serve a glazed ham.  I have never understood the correlation between Honey Baked Ham and the salvation of mankind.  I mean, it kind of bucks against the Biblical nature of the holiday after all Leviticus 11:7 tells us that pork is unclean.  Perhaps ham is served because it is an illustration of how tempting sin is.  Speaking of temptation, 1st and 2nd Kings tells us the story of Queen Jezebal who met her end after a lifetime of opulence, greed and excess.  I’m still confused as to where the Easter bunny or Deviled eggs comes in.

Fresh HamTo put a bow on this metaphysical musing I present a ham recipe for your Easter Brunch.  Jezebel Ham is a fresh baked ham glazed in Jezebel sauce.  Jezebel sauce, for the unindoctrinated, is a sweet and spicy melange that embodies the spirit of the Baal worshiping queen of Northern Israel.  It was once a standard of the Southern Sunday dinners of the early 20th century.  Today it remains an eccentric delicacy in Dixie showing up on everything from cream cheese bagels to cheese burgers.

I use the Jezebel sauce to put a zing into the old fashioned glazed ham scenario.  And because unclean pork and a glaze named after pagan roaylty aren’t sinful enough how about braising the whole thing with Jack and Coke?  Lord, forgive me.

Recipe: Jezebel Sauce


  1. 1 jar (16 oz) pineapple preserves
  2. 1 jar (16 oz) apple jelly
  3. 1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish
  4. 3 tablespoons dry mustard
  5. 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
  6. 1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Makes about 4 cups.


Jezebel sauce can also be made using apricot preserves instead of pineapple but the latter is more common with ham.

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

Recipe: Jezebel Ham


  1. 1 (8-10 pound) fresh ham (shank and leg of pork)
  2. 2 teaspoons salt
  3. 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (may omit if using Tabasco in Jezebel sauce)
  6. 1 cup Jezebel sauce
  7. 1/2 cup Jack Daniels Old #7 Tennessee Whiskey
  8. 4 cups Coke (no Pepsi will not do)


  1. Score the skin of the ham with a knife to make parallel 1/2-inch-deep cuts. Turn the ham and repeat to make a diamond pattern.
  2. Combine the salt, Cajun seasoning, pepper and cayenne (if using) in a small bowl . Vigorously rub evenly over the ham. Place the ham with the scored side up into a large roasting pan.
  3. Spackle with Jezebel over the entire ham. Pour 2 cups of Coke into the bottom of the roasting pan and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Combine the Jack and the remaining 2 cups of Coke in a medium bowl to form a rather large cocktail. Baste the ham with the cocktail then continue baking, basting every 15 or so minutes with a combination of the cocktail and pot liquer. The ham is done when the skin is crispy and dark and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (American), roughly 2 1/2 hours give or take.
  5. When done, let rest at least 20 minutes before carving. To serve, slice the meat thinly across the grain with more Jezebel on the side.


You may use a pre-smoked ham for this recipe. If so use the instructions on the package using the Jezebel in place of recommended or provided glaze. Jack and Coke are optional.

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

Be sure to check out my full Easter Brunch Menu HERE.

Easter Brunch Recipe: Seafood Gumbo

In the South it is not at all uncommon to find seafood gumbo as part of a traditional meal like Christmas dinner or Easter brunch.  It is the official soup of the Gulf Coast and highlights the local ingredients especially oysters and crawfish which are at their peak in early Spring.  Before giving you my recipe for gumbo I’ll invite you to watch this short film from the Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off in which Alton Brown was in attendance and even offered his approach to making roux.  If you don’t care to watch the video just scroll on down for the recipe.

Recipe: Seafood Gumbo


  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 lb crabmeat
  • 1 lb crawfish tails
  • 1 pint oysters
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 bunch celery stalks, rough chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb okra, sliced
  • 1/2 bottle Louisiana Hot Sauce- a whole bottle if you like it HOT!  Omit for sissies.
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt, cayenne pepper, File’, white pepper, & black pepper to taste
  • Bay leaves
  • 1 quart fish stock or shrimp stock



  1. Boil rice in well salted water with a bay leaf and set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot melt butter and add flour to make a roux cook until chocolate brown, roughly 20 minutes.
  3. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, and a little water if needed and simmer a few minutes then add hot sauce, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, both peppers and fish stock. Simmer for about half an hour.
  4. Add okra and seafood and simmer about another twenty minutes.
  5. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot over rice, and garnish with a sprinkle of file’.

Quick Notes

Gumbo is the African word for okra therefore okra is the one ingredient that cannot be omitted from the recipe.  However you can get creative with it if you just are not a fan like pulverizing it in a food processor or using fried okra as a garnish.  Also, smoked sausage or the French summer sausage Andouille are common additions.

Be sure to check out my full Easter Brunch Menu HERE.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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