Fully Festive Ham

  • prep time1 min
  • total time 270 min
  • serves 8
Christine Cushing
Christine Cushing

Recipe Courtesy Nigella Lawson, Feast: Food that Celebrates Life.

9 Ratings
Directions for: Fully Festive Ham



7 7/10 lb(s) gammon (3.5 kg)

8 cup cranberry juice (2 litres)

8 cup apple juice (2 litres)

2 cinnamon sticks, halved

2 onions, halved but not peeled

1 Tbsp allspice berries (15 ml)

30 cloves, to stud ham after poaching

Cranberry Glaze

4 Tbsp cranberry jelly (60 ml) or 6 tablespoons cranberry sauce (90 ml)

1 Tbsp runny honey (15 ml)

1 Tbsp English mustard (15 ml)

½ tsp ground cinnamon (2 ml)



1. Put the gammon into a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then immediately drain and rinse the gammon in a colander, which will get rid of any excess saltiness; the alternative is to leave it soaking in cold water overnight, but I’ve always preferred this method. It’s up to you which you choose.

2. Rinse the saucepan and put the gammon back in, and add all of the above ingredients (but not those for the glaze). If the fruit juices do not cover the ham then add some water; it really depends on how snugly your ham fits into the saucepan. Bring the pan to a boil and cook the gammon at a fast simmer for about 3 ½ - 4 hours. Pratially cover the ham with a lid if the liquid is boiling away and the top of the ham is getting dry.

3. Once the ham is cooked, remove it from the hot and now salty juice, and sit it on a board. If you want, you can cook this well ahead of schedule and let it get cold before glazing and roasting it. If that’s the case, what I tend to do is cook it for about ½ hour less and then let it get cold in the cooking liquid. I try to let it cool as fast as possible by sitting it near an open window, letting the wintry winds chill it in the old-fashioned way.

4. But, if you’re going ahead now, wait until the ham’s bearable to the touch – easy to scald yourself on hot sugary fat – and then cut and peel the rind off the cooked ham, and make sure you take a thin layer of white fat off with it, or just use a knife to shave some fat off, so you’re left with a thin coating. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to (425 degrees F.) gas mark 7/220° C, though you can just make this work with whatever setting you need your oven to be. You could always give it a short go in a much lower oven and then whip out a blowtorch. I’m always keen. Score the now trimmed fat into a diamond pattern with a sharp knife, and stud the points of each diamond with a clove.

Cranberry Glaze

1. Heat the remaining glaze ingredients together in a saucepan until the jelly or sauce melts into the honey, mustard and cinnamon to make a smooth glaze. Well, it won’t be that smooth if you’re using sauce, but you can always leave the little burst berries in place or sieve the glaze. If you can get cranberry jelly, it just has a higher gloss, but it’s not a big deal, or even that much of a difference. What matters though is that you let the glaze bubble into a syrupy sauce: it needs to be thick enough not to run off the ham completely as it blisters in the

2. Sit the ham on a piece of foil in a roasting tin, which will make washing up easier later. Pour the glaze over the clove-studded ham so that all of the scored fat is covered. Put the Christmas ham, or whatever kind of festive ham it is for you, into the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until the fat is coloured and burnished by the sugary glaze. If you’ve let the ham get completely cold before you glaze it, it’ll need a good 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. (gas mark 4/180°C () and you might have to give a final blast of real heat at the end too. And this is based on its being at room temperature, not fridge cold, when it goes in. Serves 8 to 10 people.

See more: Pork, Slow Cook, Easter, Christmas, European



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