Christmas Dinner – The Christmas Ham

Do you have any culinary family traditions?

During the holiday season particularly for Christmas and Easter ( and Thanksgiving in America ) many families include a large cooked ham in the culinary celebrations. We always have a ham as well as the more traditional Turkey on the Christmas Day table but it also makes a good roast for Boxing Day as most of the work can be done, Christmas Eve. Historically a boar’s head would be the centrepiece of the Christmas feast for a Tudor nobleman. It is believed that the tradition came from a centuries-old pagan tradition celebrating the Norse god of the harvest. If you could not get hold of the highly prized head, you would have a ham.

Baked Ham

Baked ham is very underrated as a joint with the added benefit the cold leftovers are delicious with pickles and chutneys on Boxing Day.  Ham is often served with parsley sauce and broad beans, but the robust salty flavour is a good match to the classic Christmas side dishes such as stuffing, roast potatoes and parsnips, Brussel sprouts and sweet cranberry sauce.

The recipe below is for a traditional ham studded with cloves but you can spice up* your ham as you see fit, I have included recipes for a selection of glazes. Ask your butcher to source a traditionally prepared dry cure ham and to tie it for you. A dry cure ham will shrink less during cooking and produce a better quality easier to cut joint of meat. Now for the crafty part, poaching the ham before finishing the joint in the oven also improves the carving quality and produces a flavoursome stock from which you can make traditional pea and ham soup.

*Excuse the pun

 

Traditional Spiced Baked Christmas Ham

For the Baked Ham

1 whole or piece of boned and rolled dry-cured Ham around 1 ½  to 2 ½ kg is a nice joint

( ask your butcher to weigh it this is important for cooking times )

1 to 2 White Onions, peeled and quartered

2 large Carrots, peeled and halved

2 sticks of Celery, washed

2 Bay Leaves

4 Cloves

Around 10 whole Coriander Seeds

5 or 6 Black Peppercorns

For the Glaze

3 tablespoons soft Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons English mustard

½ teaspoon ground Allspice

¼ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

A large handful of Cloves

Place the ham in the pan and cover with cold water. Place on the cooker and bring to the boil. Carefully take to the sink and pour out the water and wash off any scum from the ham. This initial boiling will help reduce excess salt in the finished ham. Cover again with cold water and add the carrots, celery, coriander seeds and peppercorns. Pierce the bay leaves with the cloves, pin to the onions and add to the pan. Bring back to the boil, turn down to a gentle simmer and cover with lid. Cook for twenty minutes per pound of raw weight. Once the cooking time is finished turn off the heat and leave to go cold in the cooking liquor. This can be done the night before. Drain from the cooking liquor which can be used to make a delicious soup.

To Glaze

Preheat your oven to a temperature of 350 F / 180 C / Gas Mark 4.  Mix all the ingredients, except the cloves, together in a small bowl. Spread half the mixture over the ham and then stud the fat with cloves pushing the pointed ends down in towards the meat. Place in the oven, after fifteen minutes spread on the remaining mix. Finish off glazing in the oven for another fifteen minutes turning the oven down if the ham starts to burn. Remove and serve hot or cold.

Glazes 

 Wholegrain Mustard and Honey

4 tablespoons Soft Brown Sugar

4 tablespoons Runny Honey

2 tablespoons Wholegrain Mustard

Mix the sugar and mustard together in a small bowl. Rub in half of the mustard and sugar mix. Pour over one tablespoon of honey and put in the oven. After fifteen minutes spread on the remaining sugar, mustard, and honey. Finish off glazing in the oven for another fifteen minutes turning the oven down if the ham starts to burn. Remove and serve hot or cold.

Spicy Mustard with Apricot and Peach Preserve

4 tablespoons of Apricot Jam or Preserve

35 ml Peach Schnapps

3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

¼ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Heat the preserve in a small thick bottomed pan until it melts whisk in remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined. Spread half the mixture over the ham and place in the oven. After fifteen minutes spread on the remaining mix. Finish off glazing in the oven for another fifteen minutes turning the oven down if the ham starts to burn. Remove and serve hot or cold.

Wicked Bourbon and Coca-Cola Glaze

1 can of Coca-Cola

60 ml Bourbon Whiskey

50 gr Soft Brown Sugar

½ teaspoon ground Allspice

½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Pour the coca cola into a small heavy bottomed pan. Reduce by two thirds, simmering over a medium heat until you achieve a thin syrup. Add the sugar, whiskey, and spices and reduce again by half. Spread half the mixture over the ham and place in the oven. After fifteen minutes spread on the remaining mix. Finish off glazing in the oven for another fifteen minutes turning the oven down if the ham starts to burn. Remove and serve hot or cold.

Cinnamon and Mustard

50 gr Soft Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon French Mustard

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread half the mixture over the ham and place in the oven. After fifteen minutes spread on the remaining mix. Finish off glazing in the oven for another fifteen minutes turning the oven down if the ham starts to burn. Remove and serve hot or cold.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Mustard  Celery

Please see the Allergens Page

#countdowntochristmas
http://www.theonlinecookeryschool.wordpress.com

3 thoughts on “Christmas Dinner – The Christmas Ham

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