I like turkey a lot, but nowhere near as much as this beauty….the Christmas Ham.
For me this is the star of the show hands down and all else revolves around it. Now, don’t get me wrong, without its partners in crime the sprouts, roasties, carrots & parsnip and the ubiquitous Turkey the Christmas Ham cuts a lonely figure but like a great Jazz Bass player the Ham is really the driver here even if it’s normally standing behind the pianist.
Cooking hams at Christmas is a bit of a skill especially if you are cooking for a legion of people and you need a big beast of a cut. The cooking temps, times and even the pots used all need to be pretty exact in order to make sure you do not end up with a dry leathery cut of ham on your Christmas plate.
This is a full proof recipe that will ensure a moist, properly cooked and well flavoured ham
WHAT YOU NEED – serving 8-10 with left overs
1 boned, un-smoked Ham – 5kg
For the glaze:
250 grm English mustard
100 grams maple syrup
1 tbs cracked black pepper corns
1 tbs coriander seeds
200mls Jack Daniels whiskey
2 tbs slat flakes
300 grams dark brown sugar
HOW YOU DO IT
So – first to your equipment, you will need a very deep pot at least 1 third higher than the ham. You also need a small heat proof plate that will sit in the pot to form a trivot – that’s it.
To kick things off, leave the ham sitting in a big bowl of cold water mixed with the brown sugar overnight – this is a slight brine and it’s totally optional.
Next to cook – place the large cooking pot on the heat, pop in the heat proof saucer and set the ham, (drained from the brine) on top. This will prevent the ham from contacting the bottom of the pot and sticking.
Cover with cold water fully and bring up to a boil, then straight down to a medium heat for 4 hours. You want the ham to get to 75c – nothing under this. Now – no messing around here, the best and only way to get your ham perfectly cooked is to use a thermometer…so get one and every hour or so check the temp – drive the thermometer into the middle of the ham.
As soon as you hit 75c get the ham out and leave it to cool completely, you can keep the ham water for cabbage or other veg cooking – do not sling it out!
Next to glaze and bake – pound the salt flakes, coriander seeds and black pepper corns into a rough powder then mix in the whisky, mustard and syrup and mix well into a glazey paste.
When the ham has cooled you can remove the rind to expose a pearl white layer of fat, criss-cross the fat with a sharp knife then paint it all over with the glaze – do this a few times to make sure the glaze takes.
Then finally roast in medium high oven for about 30 minutes or until golden – you will also note that I don’t use cloves…I friggin’ hate ’em……