All your favourite Christmas flavours & smells infused into a gorgeous ham
3 cracking Christmas hams:
- Sticky honey and mustard glazed ham
- Whiskey glazed ham
- Cola ham with honey glaze
A Christmas ham is a real treat.
They aren’t the cheapest things to have but once a year it’s nice to splash out.
And what I love about a Christmas ham is you can nibble away at it over a week or so.
It’s great when it first comes out of the oven for a nice evening meal.
And then we slice into it for a brunch with ham, eggs and bubble and squeak.
Or a quick lunchtime snack in a soft bap.
And of course when you’re kicking back at the end of the week with a little glass of something (fizz… it’s Christmas after all).
Then slices of Christmas ham with some cheese and crackers is perfect with some good friends and family all catching up by the fire.
3 cracking Christmas hams
So, over the years, I’ve tried 3 different hams and glazes.
And I couldn’t tell you which one is the best.
They’re all lovely and full of Christmas flavours.
But the one big tip I can give, which perhaps you already know.
(*I was a Christmas ham virgin until 3 years ago as it was Mum who always did the hams).
Is to leave your ham in its cooking juices overnight before you do the final step of glazing the ham in the oven.
This will really ensure great depth of flavour but also keep it moist.
Which brings me to another little tip.
If you can, let it rest for an hour, at least.
If you try and cut into it too soon, it won’t cut very well.
I know these things because these are mistakes I have made on my (still early) Christmas ham journey.
3 cracking Christmas hams
The joy of a delicious Christmas ham is being able to use it in so many ways.
1. Sticky honey glazed ham
A classic Christmas ham.
Uncomplicated and very tasty.
Sticky honey and mustard glazed ham
- Very large pot
- 3 kg unsmoked boneless gammon joint
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 leek, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 3 bay leaves
- handful of cloves
For the honey and mustard glaze
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Put the gammon into a large saucepan and pour cold water to cover. Add the carrots, leek, onion, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick and bay leaves.Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 3 hrs (add more boiling water throughout, if necessary). Skim off the froth that rise to the surface from time to time.TIP:S Leave the ham to cool in the stock overnight.You can keep the ham stock for soups, etc..
Honey and mustard glaze
- In a pan, add the sugar, Worcestershire sauce, honey and mustard and stir over a low heat. Then get to a nice simmer for a few mins or until you have a glossy syrup.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the ham on a board and take off the strong then carefully cut away the skin from the ham, so you have an even layer of fat left.Lightly score the fat all over in a diamond pattern but don't cut into the meat. Then stud the centre of each diamond with a clove.
- Put the ham into a roasting tin and pour half of the glaze over the surface. Roast for 15 mins.Now, pour on the rest of the glaze and return to the oven for another 25–35 mins until the ham is golden brown, basting with the pan juices frequently.Remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 30mins before carving or let cool and pop in the fridge for Xmas snacking!
2. Whiskey glazed ham
A ncie twist and perfect for Christmas.
Whiskey glazed ham
- 5 kg free-range unsmoked British gammon bone-in if possible but I used without
- 300 g apricot jam
- 150 ml runny honey
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 5 mace blades
- 10 whole cloves
- 3 – 4 tbsp of whiskey or spiced rum
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Check the gammon instructions or ask your butcher if you need to soak your gammon overnight (these days it's not usually needed but check). If so, then soak in cold water, this helps remove any extra saltiness.
- To cook: Place the gammon in a large pan that can hold it comfortably, and cover with cold water.Stir in the bay and spices, and most of the honey and apricot jam (keep a little back for glazing.)Bring to a gentle simmer (approx 85°C) to keep the ham moist and cook for2½-3½ hours (*depends on the weight so do 450g per 20mins + 20mins) until the middle of the ham reaches 65°C.
- Skim off the scum that rises to the surface throughout.Once it's poached, remove and leave to cool. I let cool in the pot as there is a theory this keeps it moist.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan180°C/Gas 6.
- Cut the skin off the ham, but leave the fat on and score into a diamond pattern.Place in a roasting tin and pop the ham into the oven for 10mins without glaze to get the fat to render a bit.Mix the rest of the apricot jam and honey with the whisky and mustard. Once the ham has had its first 10minin the oven, take out and spread 1/2 or more of the glaze, generously, over the fat. (If your gammon is large (mine was 5kg, I upped the honey and apricot a little for the glaze mix).*You can add stud cloves into the fat but this doesn't do anything in terms in flavour except make it look pretty and help the glaze stop from sliding off.Roast for about 10 mins, then bast and pour the rest of the glaze over. Bast again after approx 5 – 10mins and keep basting. When the ham is glossy and sticky and golden, remove from the oven. Leave to rest, then slice
3. Glazed ham cooked in cola
This is a little Nigella number and it’s fab.
Glazed ham cooked in coca cola
- 2 kg mild cured gammon joint
- 1 onion (quartered)
- 2 litres coca-cola (not diet)
- 2 diced celery sticks
- 1 tbsp pepper corns
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 handful of cloves i.e. enough to put all over your ham
- 150 g clear honey (you can be liberal)
- 2 tsp English mustard powder or whatever you have in the fridge
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- NB: Cook your gammon from room temperature if possible or add 15 mins to the timing if from the fridge.Place the gammon, skin-side down if you can, and add the onion, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, celery, and then pour over the Coke.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a steady simmer and put the lid on.Leave for approx 2½ hours. Note: you can work out the timing to cook your gammon by basing an hour per kilo. But remember, it's going to get a quick blast in the oven later.
- Preheat your oven to 240°C/gas mark 9/450ºF ready for the glazing.
Glazing the ham
- Remove your ham from the pan and let cool a little in a roasting dish lined with tin foil or you can let it cool completely finish off the cooking at some later time.Remove the skin but leave as much fat on the ham as you can.Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, then stud each diamond with a clove.
- In a small pan, add the honey, sugar, mustard and put over a medium heat so everything mixes and the glaze mixture thickens… approx 8 mins.Let cool for a few minutes, carefully pour your glaze over the ham.
- Pop in the oven for approx 40 mins or until you think it's golden and done.Check on it several times to re-glaze.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 mins, then spoon more glaze over the top.
- Enjoy with family and friends!