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Archive for December 18th, 2009

Ham is a traditional meat for the Christmas table, alongside the usual turkey.  We particularly enjoy them together at tea time as cold cuts with salad, pickles and chutneys. Cooking the ham completely or partially in ginger ale, rather than conventionally in water, gives a lovely sweet flavour which penetrates the whole joint of meat. Adding a glaze followed by a quick second cooking adds a further gingery spicy/sweet outer crust. I have served gammon in this way at a special Sunday lunch for family, accompanied by vegetables or ratatouille. It is very easy to make as the joint can be cooked the night before for a Sunday lunch and covered in the marinade for an hour or so before the short final cooking. I substituted canned ginger beer for the ginger ale of the original recipe (I used Old Jamaica brand, but any can be substituted.) The original recipe was for a large (12lb) joint of meat which was cooked in 7 litres (12 pints) of ginger ale, which at 1 pint per lb seemed rather a lot. For a very small ham joint of about 2lbs I used just one can, which still gave a good flavour but probably two, or at most three, cans would be ample for a larger joint. I am sure it does not matter if the ham is cooked in a mixture of ginger ale and a little water. It is important that the joint is pre-soaked to remove some of the salt used in the curing process.  The original recipe uses Ginger Marmalade: the combination of Orange Marmalade and ground ginger that I use was suggested as an alternative.

This recipe originally came from Nigella Lawson’s Christmas 2008 television programme, from her book Nigella Express. I scribbled the details, which were simple, on some scrap paper but was glad to find Nigella’s recipe for Ginger Glazed Ham online as well. The quantities given below are my adaptations of the original which have worked well for me. 

For a plain boiled ham, without using ginger beer, use all water plus 6-8 black peppercorns and a small bay leaf.

100_7739 Honey Glazed Ham

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Gingered Glazed Ham
(Serves 4-6)

1.5-2kg/3-4lb joint unsmoked boneless ham (as little rind as possible)
2 x 330ml cans of ginger beer (original recipe uses dry ginger ale)
A little water if needed (optional)

For glaze:
125g/4ozs orange marmalade
½tsp ground ginger
1 tablespoon hot English mustard (or ½tbsp mustard powder)
50g/2ozs soft dark brown sugar
¼tsp ground cloves

Slow Cooker method:
1. Place unwrapped gammon piece in a heatproof blow and pour over boiling water.  Pre-heat the slow cooker on high for 30minutes. 

2.  Remove gammon from bowl and throw away water.  Place gammon in slow cooker, cover with ginger beer (one can may be enough) and top up with boiling water.  Turn cooker to low and leave to cook: up to 2lb (up to 1kg) ham for 4-hrs, 3-4lb (1.5-2kg) for 5-6hrs.

To finish ham, continue from stage 3 below…

Stove top method:
1. Place the joint a good sized pan and cover with boiling water. Depending on size, leave it to soak for at least 20 minutes but longer if you wish a to remove more salt. If you are short of time, make sure you remove the most salty juices by pouring over the boiling water and leave for at least five minutes. Strain away the salty water.

2. Return the joint to the pan and pour over the ginger beer, topping it up with water so the liquid comes about half way up the pan and a good portion of the ham is covered. Bring the pan to the boil and then lower the heat slightly simmer for 1½hours.

3. Mix together the glaze ingredients a bowl.

4. Towards the end of the cooking time pre-heat the oven to 220oC/425o, unless you are going to finish the joint from cold (see 6 below).

Same day finish:
5. Gently lift the ham out of the pan and place on a foil-lined baking tray. Carefully remove any skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. There is no need to score the surface, just cover liberally with the glaze and place the tray with the ham into the hot oven for 20 minutes.

Next day finish:
6.  Leave the joint to cool and finish the procedure the next day. Cover with the glaze at least 1hour before cooking as the flavours will take longer to penetrate the cold meat. Pre-heat the oven to 220oC/425oF and place the tray with the ham into the hot oven for 20 minutes.

7. The sugars  in the glaze will blacken a little while cooking but be careful not to overcook the joint at this stage. 

8.  Serve hot or cold.  Any meat juices from the oven cooking plus a little of the liquid from the stovetop cooking can be thickened with a little cornflour to make a gingery sauce, although taste it well as adding too much cooking liquid could make it salty.

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