Wednesday, 5 May 2010

I ham what I ham

And what I ham, needs no excuses (thank you Forbidden Broadway for the inspiration!)

Now I think I am quite possibly the last person in the country to try Nigella's Ham in Coca Cola. It's a Christmas staple for most of my 'foodie' friends, and almost everyone I know has either made it themselves or tried it courtesy of someone else. Well everyone apart from me that is. A combination of not having been in the mood for soup over the last week (mainly because of the good weather) and forgetting I had some bread in the freezer meant that I seemed to empty my purse remarkably quickly by buying sandwiches. I was keen for that not to happen this week, so decided to tackle Nigella's ham recipe.

For once I followed the recipe exactly and I have to say it's gorgeous. The ham itself is incredibly soft and tender, and the flavour is very slightly sweet with a hint of smokiness. To be truthful, I liked the taste as much after boiling as I did after adding the glaze, and I'm yet to try a glazed part so am reserving judgement on that - as so far, the treacle just seemed to burn and fill my kitchen with smoke.
My Bank Holiday Monday involves taking a group of Brownies on a steam train and as we'll be out from 10am to 8pm so this ham will form the filling of my sandwiches - and I can definitely see Ham, egg and chips for tea on Wednesday (well potato wedges really but that doesn't have the same ring to it). The recipe does take a fair while, but is completely worth it, and is an easy enough thing to do whilst pottering on a rainy Sunday.


2kg mild-cure gammon (I could only find smoked gammon so soaked it first)
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola
handful of cloves
1 heaped tablespoon black treacle
2 teaspoons English mustard powder
2 tablespoons demerara sugar


1. I find now that mild-cure gammon doesn’t need soaking, but if you know that you’re dealing with a salty piece, then put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over the Coke.

2. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2½ hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour per kilo, remembering that it’s going to get a quick blast in the oven later. But do take into account that if the gammon’s been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 9.

4. When the ham’s had its time (and ham it is, now it’s cooked, though it’s true Americans call it ham from its uncooked state) take it out of the pan (but do NOT throw away the cooking liquid) and let cool a little for ease of handling. (Indeed, you can let it cool completely then finish off the cooking at some later stage if you want.) Then remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove. Then carefully spread the treacle over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves. Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat. Cook in a foil-lined roasting tin for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.

5. Should you want to do the braising stage in advance and then let the ham cool,

6. Clove and glaze it and give it 30–40 minutes, from room temperature, at 180°C/gas mark 4, turning up the heat towards the end if you think it needs it.


Libbs said...

You'll be pleased to know that I haven't made it Penny!
And in truth I only had my first home-done ham a few weeks ago.

I do feel a bit put off by the coca-cola thing though. I can't get my head around it.

Pen said...

I couldn't either Libbs. But it really does work, it's sooooo flavourful - and amazingly cost effective too. My ham cost £6 and it's done a week's worth of lunches (and fridge door snacking!) and I still have about half left.


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