Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Spicy Glazed Ham
This ham is now a christmas tradition for our family (and some of our friends), enough so that I received complaints last year when I made a 4.5kg one - it was too small! This is a straightforward gift from Nigella and honestly it is worth every moment of time and scrap of effort involved in making it.
First, get hold of a cured, smoked gammon on the bone. You may need to phone your butcher a few days in advance if, like mine, they smoke their meats on premises. If you don't have a butcher, you could see if there's a stockist like mine near you, use their online delivery service (choose "gammon - smoked and bone in") or have a look around the internet for an ethical stockist in your area.
6.5kgs is basically a massive pig leg and will feed 10 greedy people a gigantic meal. If you aren't serving it as a main meal, but as a pick and nibble treat for sandwiches, ham-egg-n-chips and general snaffling, it will last you and your guests for a good week. You can make a smaller one though, just adjust the amounts of the other ingredients.
We had a bit of a problem finding a pot big enough for ours. In fact, this is an issue we usually have every year but yet never get around to buying a big enough pot in advance. I got my husband to deploy a hacksaw to remove a peice of it (ready to make a tasty soup after xmas), so that the ham would fit into the biggest vessel we have - one of those ceramic slow-cookers.
The ham goes into the pot with a large (250ml) glass of red wine, a large quartered onion, a quartered fennel bulb, a couple of fat cloves of garlic, a couple of star anise and a tablespoon each of coriander seed, fennel seed and peppercorns. Top it up with water as far as you can and then turn the heat on and leave for at least 3.5 hours (if on the stove) or about 5 hours in a slow cooker on high - especially if the lid doesn't fit tight! Keep checking on it, top up with more water if needed and turn it over halfway through cooking.
When ready, fish the ham out and pop it in a big baking tray. Cut the outer skin off and use a knife to lightly score criss-cross diamond shapes. Stick a clove in at every X.
Heat up a saucepan containing 4 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly, a teaspoon of smoked paprika and half a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and red wine vinegar. Give it a good old boil for a few minutes and then use a spoon or a pastry brush to coat the ham with the glaze.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or so, until the glaze has caramalised and the corners are going black.
Leave to cool before eating or you will burn your fingers!