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A delicious part of your Christmas feast

  • 1 x 1.3 kg smoked, boneless gammon
  • one can (330 ml) ginger ale
  • one bottle (330 ml) of your favourite beer
  • 1 large onion, peel on, quartered
  • 1 thumb-length quill of cinnamon
  • 3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • a small bunch of parsley
  • water, to cover

For the glaze:

  • 1 x 425 g tin (nett weight) pitted black cherries
  • 4 Tbsp (60 ml) pomegranate concentrate/syrup, preferably Verlaque brand
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) white granulated sugar
  • a tiny pinch of ground cloves
  • the juice of a large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp (45 ml) pink peppercorns, lightly crushed, plus extra for garnishing

Weigh your piece of gammon, or make a note of the weight printed on the label. Put the gammon, fat side up, in a large, deep pot and add the ginger ale, beer, onion, cinnamon, carrots, bay leaves, star anise, peppercorns, and parsley. Pour in enough water to cover the gammon to a depth of 2 cm. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat so that the gammon cooks at a brisk simmer. Partially cover the pot with a tilted lid.

If you’re using a smallish boneless gammon, cook the meat for 40-45 minutes per kilogram, or according to the directions on the packaging. Check the pot now and then, and top up with more water: the meat must be completely submerged. Turn the gammon over halfway through the cooking process.

Turn off the heat, If you’re serving the gammon cold, leave it in its liquid to cool completely. If you’re serving it hot, proceed immediately as follows (see Notes). Lift the gammon out of its stock and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Cut off the netting and gently peel off the rind (it will come away easily) and discard.

Now, using a very sharp knife, neatly trim some of the fat off the top of the ham (how much is up to you; see Notes).  Score the fat into a diamond pattern with the tip of the knife.  Put the gammon in a roasting pan, fat-side up. If it leans over – as a small gammon will do – tuck a wedge of lemon or onion underneath it so presents a fairly level surface to the grill. Put on the oven grill at its highest setting (usually 220 ºC) and, if your oven has a fan, turn it on.