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Douglas Rodriguez's Roast Ham With a Latin Twist

The award-winning chef gives Cuban gusto to a holiday favorite

Personal Best/My Food: Chef Douglas Rodriguez

Graciela Cattarossi

Chef Douglas Rodriguez and wife Nelly share a love for food.

En español | Glazed ham is a traditional holiday dish, but the glaze is usually kind of flat — one flavor. I want more depth, so I take butter and sugar and cook these down, as if making caramel. Then I add rum, mustard and pineapple, which gives it a little Latin punch. The ham is studded with cloves; this really enhances the flavor of the meat.

I like to change up my recipes all the time, but I keep making this ham for holidays because my wife and the rest of the family ask for it. Cooking is a form of giving and a way of expressing love.

My wife and I met over food. I was in love with Nelly from the moment I saw her, but it took me a while to court her. It was a courtship over dining. She is knowledgeable about food, and she's a tough critic. She's really specific — too much of this, not enough that. I trust her opinion 100 percent. It's always delivered with love.

Personal Best/My Food: Chef Douglas Rodriguez

Graciela Cattarossi

Rum, mustard and pineapple give Chef Rodriguez's glazed ham a Latin flavor.

Easy Upgrade for a Classic Main Dish: Rum & Pineapple Glazed Smoked Ham

Serves 28


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 ounces canned crushed pineapple
  • 1 fully cooked ham (7 pounds)
  • ¼ cup whole cloves

Put butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook until bubbling, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool. Slowly add rum, mustard, lemonzest and juice, and pineapple. Blend. Reserve.

Remove ham from refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Using sharp knife, score skin in crosshatch pattern. Stud each square with a clove.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place rack in bottom of roasting pan; place ham on rack. Pour 1 cup water into pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Turn down heat to 375°F; roast until center of ham reaches 148°F. Turn up heat to 400°F; baste ham with glaze. When center of ham reaches 155°F, remove (total roasting time: 2 to 2½ hours). Let ham rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour before carving.

Nutrients per serving: 196 calories, 21g protein, 5g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 10g fat, 85mg cholesterol, 1,343mg sodium

Personal Best/My Food: Chef Douglas Rodriguez

Graciela Cattarossi

Black bean soup is a favorite this time of year.

Gloria's Black Bean Soup


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons adobo (powdered Latin spices)
  • 1 red onion, diced, for garnish
  • 8 ounces sour cream, for garnish (optional)

1. Place beans in nonreactive pan and cover with 4 quarts of water. Add bay leaves and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer beans for 2½ to 3 hours, stirring frequently and adding more water, if necessary, to keep them well covered.

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in sauté pan or skillet. Sauté bell pepper, shallot and onion over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 15 minutes.

3. Add garlic, cumin and oregano, and sauté for additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to blender and puree until smooth.

4. Add pureed mixture, vinegar, sugar and adobo to beans and cook for 30 minutes. Season to taste, garnish with red onion and sour cream, and serve.

Nutrients per serving: 376 calories, 10g protein, 35g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 24g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 623mg sodium

James Beard Award–winning chef Douglas Rodriguez, 51, leads culinary tours to Cuba.

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