This one maybe isn’t quite as “alternative” as you’d expect from me, but no matter what’s on the Christmas Day menu, I always insist on having “nice ham” as well! I did want something slightly different from the joints you’d pick up easily in the supermarket, though, so I scoured the internet and found this (not-so) little beauty. It fed 5 people in work, me twice, and there’s still at least half sliced up in my freezer!
4kg raw smoked bone-in gammon joint
2l ginger beer
2 bay leaves
1tsp ground allspice
1tsp ground ginger
6 whole black peppercorns
40 whole cloves
340g jar apricot jam
This should serve 16! Holy Moly! (Or should that be Holly Molly?)
I served it with some actifried roasties, chipolatas, a dollop of cranberry sauce, and some parsnip & apple mash (one large bramley apple, 4 parsnips, cubed and boiled for 10 minutes, then mashed with 50g of melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cumin & coriander)
- Pop the meat into a massive pot. I had an 8 litre stock pot…. and still had to cut the joint in half =/
- Add the ginger beer (yep, all of it), the bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns, and 5 or 6 of the cloves. Top up with water, if the liquid doesn’t cover the ham (to be honest, I had a little bit poking over the top of the pan).
- Bring it to a simmer, over a medium heat, and cover. My massive pot came with a lid, so clearly I used that, but foil will do. As I said above, not all of the meat was submerged, but the lid allowed the tip of the hamberg to steam cook.
- Leave it there for about 2 and a half hours, topping up occasionally with water, if necessary. I didn’t have to do this.
- During this time, you can mix the jam and ginger together.
- Whack the oven on to preheat to 200ºc (or 180ºc if you’re fancy).
- Take the pot off the heat, and when the joint is cool enough to handle, ditch the liquid.
- Remove the rind, but remember to leave a layer of fat. It’s Christmas.
- Transfer the ham to a roasting dish, and score a criss-cross pattern into the fat. Stud with the remaining cloves.
- Spread the jam all over the ham (as if you just don’t give a damn)
- Pop in the oven for up to an hour, or until it looks amaaaaaazing
- Allow to settle for a bit before slicing, and serve it up either hot or cold, whatever floats your gravy boats.
It’s a solid win for Tesco this week, at £22.55 with Sainsbury’s miles behind in second place at £26.15.
Morrison weren’t far off that, in third at £27.06, but it was quite a stretch again to fourth place where ASDA trailed at £29.04.
Unsurprisingly, it all came down tot he price of the ham, but even completely removing that wouldn’t have had much of an effect, other than ASDA & Morrisons swapping places with only 2p instead of £2 between them.
Not gonna lie…. the original recipe wanted whole Allspice berries, but I couldn’t find them anywhere for love nor money. I’m not sure the ground version was a great sub – I’m not sure it added much in terms of flavour, and it made the cooking liquid a it scummy. I’d like to try it the “proper” way, but this was still might deeeeeeeelicious.
I toyed with the idea of using Cranberry Jame instead of Apricot, for extra Christmassyness (it is a word) but I’ve already been a bit cranberry-centric in the Party (Chilli)Poppers starter. If you did want to be a bit more festive, though, you could maybe use a marmalade instead of apricot jam, aiming for a “clementine” type of field.
I think I smothered the jam on a bit thick over the fat, leaving me a bit short elsewhere. I also took it out of the oven very early as said jam seemed to be burning. The end result was a super-tasty sticky glaze, but if you can get away with it I’d thoroughly recommend leaving it in the oven for the full hour to allow the fat to really crisp up.
Cloves aren’t for everybody. I’d thoroughly recommend leaving them in the recipe, but you could remove them before serving, if you prefer. I left them in and just crunched right through them. They taste of Christmas.
You won’t need salt with this, but a twist of freshly-ground black pepper will be grand.