I love a Christmas ham. It’s one of my favourite Christmas meats. This meltingly tender, home cooked ham is the perfect centre piece for your Boxing Day table or would be great served alongside the Christmas Day turkey for those who like to mix things up a bit.
Our family tradition is to serve this on Boxing Day, alongside ‘Grandad B’ potatoes (cheesy stuffed baked potatoes). Leftover stuffing, a good dollop of chutney and a crunchy salad (two parts eating apple to one part radish and one part shredded sprouts, dressed in a little lemon juice and olive oil) are always served on the side. The best thing is that you can make this ham well in advance. It keeps for up to 4 days in the fridge and can even be frozen!
The ham is cooked in a pan full of water and aromatics and one of the things I love about this recipe is that, once the ham is removed, you are left with a lovely ham stock. Don’t throw it out, whatever you do. Strain and cool it then freeze it. It’s perfect as a base for hearty winter soups. I’m a big fan of winter soups and love it when they contain pulses. I will be sharing the recipe for my favourite ham and split pea soup over the next couple of weeks but If you can’t wait that long then why not check out my Spiced Lentil and Vegetable Soup which is both hearty and healthy, or my Stilton and Broccoli Soup which has bold flavours perfect for this time of year.
While I was researching this recipe I was looking at the difference between a ham and a gammon. It turns out that they are both the same cut of meat, cooked in the same way. It’s just that gammon is eaten hot. Once it cools it’s known as ham! This is absolutely gorgeous both hot and cold so feel free to serve it any way you want.
The Perfect Christmas Ham
For the ham
- 1 boneless unsmoked gammon joint (weighing around 2kg)
- 1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion (peeled and cut into quarters)
For the glaze
- 2 tablespoons marmalade
- 2 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Place the gammon joint into a large pan and add the peppercorns, bay leaves and onion. Cover the joint with cold water and bring to a simmer. Simmer very gently until the internal temperature of the gammon reaches 68°C (155F), about 1¾ hours*
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (425F).
- Put all the glaze ingredients into a small pan and bring to a simmer.
- Remove the joint from the stock (cool the stock and save to use at a later date) and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove the string and rind, ensuring that you leave a good layer of fat on the joint. Place in a foil lined roasting tray.
- Score the fat then drizzle over half the glaze using a brush to ensure the entire surface of the joint is covered.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes then remove and baste with the remaining glaze. Return to the oven and allow to bake until the glaze is bubbling and golden – about another 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then refrigerate until ready to eat.