Advent calendars. Mulled wine. Walking around Christmas markets with good intentions but never actually buying the £10 honey, the wind chime, or the charcoal drawing of a landscape you don’t recognise.
There are some things that just scream of Christmas tradition, but the ultimate for me, has to be a ham.
The ham I bring to the table every Christmas differs. Sometimes it’s the Orange, Ginger Beer & Smoked Sugar Ham from my book Get Stuffed (click here to download), sometimes it’s a ham I’ve slow roasted for hours and hours in a mustardy maple glaze, and sometimes it’s not even mine and it’s my mother cooking and bringing it to the table because I’m lazy.
But this year, it has to be this Pineapple & Treacle recipe.
This ham will be a ham to launch a thousand ships. Of course, it’s good at the centre of your table for all the sides to orbit around, but this year, for me, it’s all about the afters. I’m thinking thick slices of it draped into buns and slathered thickly with mustard and orange marmalade (try it and thank me later) or served in cold slices with hot, chunky, crispy chips, and sweetly sour pickles. I’m also planning to shred up any leftovers to put into an oozing, cheesy shortcrust pastry pie.
All the stuff. Fuck it, I’m making two actually. I want that pie, for sure.
My favourite thing about this recipe is that it is, even though it’s hard to believe, incredibly easy. Because it’s a piece of meat, I totally understand people’s reservations towards it because the thought of getting meat wrong is anxiety inducing, possibly due to the cost of meat itself these days, but you can trust me when I say that I have made more hams than I can count, and this is a very fool proof, safe, and of course, delicious way to make a ham.
Serves 3 – 4 with sides but 1 – 2 for a day or so afterwards
1 x 750g smoked gammon joint
1 litre pineapple juice
2 garlic cloves
2 – 3 bay leaves
2 tbs soft brown sugar
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tbs treacle
- Remove the joint from its vacuum packaging (but keep the inside plastic case on the ham as this is what keeps it intact while it cooks) and place it into a large pot.
- Empty in the pineapple juice, adding some extra water if necessary to fully cover the gammon, and squeeze the juice of the lime into the pan.
- Now halve the onion (no need to peel) and add to the pan along with the garlic and bay leaves.
- Place the pan on the hob on a high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 55 minutes. During this bubbling time, preheat your oven to 200°C.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar, mustard powder, treacle and mix these together. This will be a thick mix and tough to stir, so you could add the merest pinprick of water from the tap to give it an easier consistency to stir, but I never really need to. I enjoy the process of stirring it. I don’t know what that says about my personality, answers on a postcard, please.
- Line a small roasting tray with some foil and once the gammon’s boiling time is up, carefully move it from the hot liquid to the foil lined tray.
- Spoon the treacle glaze over the joint, with a rubber spatula for ease, until it’s well coated. Don’t worry if you feel it’s running all down the ham and into the foil tray – we’ll be basting later.
- Cover the joint loosely but tightly with more foil and then slip in the hot oven for 15 minutes. After this time is up, remove from the oven, take off the foil cover, spoon any treacle juices in the pan over the ham, and then bake for a further 10 minutes.
- After this time, remove from the oven, and let it rest for about 15 minutes just to cool slightly before removing from the tray to a carving board. Carve the ham into slices, arrange the slices on a large plate, and then pour any treacle juices left in the roasting tray over the slices to serve.