Let’s talk ham…

It’s post Christmas. And post New Year. The decorations have been put away, the tree’s been slung into the garden and all the naughty Christmas food has been shoved into the cupboard but there’s one ingredient that’s still everywhere at the moment and that is gammon. Or ham if it is in its cooked form.

I always think ham is an underrated joint and like turkey, people only seem to cook them at Christmas. But they are often incredibly good value for money and leftovers will serve you well for several days after in a variety of recipes. Ocado were doing a special on ham and I ordered one but disappointingly it was a processed ham –  uniformly round with no fat or skin. But an improptu trip to the butchers by work saw a large pile of small joints and I was able to pick one up for £4. I decided to cook them both together last night but only the butcher’s ham would be able to be cloved and glazed.

Here they are, nestling snugly together. I never know how salty they are going to be so I always pop them in cold water, bring them up the boil and then discard the water.

Boiling hams

The next stage is to choose your cooking liquor. I am a massive fan of Nigella’s Ham in Cola recipe but last night I slung them in some cider with an onion and cooked them for about 45 minutes – reckon about 1 hr per kilo (but as these were two separate smaller hams I cooked them for a shorter period).

Onion and ham Cider ham pour Hams in cider

I couldn’t really do much more with the processed ham as there was no fat to glaze but as for the butcher’s joint, I peeled the skin off, scored the fat into diamond shapes and studded each diamond with a clove. I then glazed with a mix of black treacle, mustard powder and demerara sugar (this is the glaze from Nigella’s ham in cola recipe) and put it in the oven at 220C for 10 minutes.

The processed ham turned out pretty dry and uninspiring but it’ll go well in pea and ham soup which I plan to make over the weekend and be a tasty addition to fried rice or some fried noodles. The glazed ham was delicious and moist – it really does need the layer of fat. I served it with grain mustard mash, french beans and tenderstem brocolli.

Dry ham Cooked large 2


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