An alternative to turkey, and the star of and Christmas supper or Boxing Day Buffet, this honey and mustard gammon really is a showstopper. In my parents’ house, we have always had turkey or chicken on Christmas day, but whenever we were hosting the wider family for Boxing Day tea, there as always ham home-cooked ham in the buffet line up. While it was intended for Boxing Day tea, we always cooked it and ate it for dinner on one of the days before Christmas, usually the 23rd or 24th December. Freshly cooked, hot, and served as a roast with potatoes, vegetables and gravy, this has become one of my favourite winter dishes, and is an essential part of Christmas.
The combination of salty gammon with the sweet, sticky glazy is near-on perfect, not to mention the softness of the meat. It’s wonderful hot with gravy, in a sandwich with soft, crusty bread and crunchy salad, or as part of a continental style cold meat platter. It’s also exceptionally good as part of eggs benedict, if you want a special breakfast on Christmas morning!
So to the important part – how do you make it? The recipe has two main parts: first the gammon is boiled for 2 hours (you need a big pan for this!), then it is roasted in the oven with the glaze to add the final delicious flavour. Here’s how!
Serves 6-8 for dinner
You will need:
2kg piece of smoked or unsmoked boneless gammon (unsmoked is a bit less salty)
1 stick of celery
6 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp Dijon or course grain mustard
Put the gammon into a large pan and cover with cold water soak it for 2 hours in the fridge, or longer, if you have the time. (This helps to remove some of the salt from the meat).
Drain, and cover again with fresh water. Roughly chop the vegetables and add to the pan, with the bouquet garnis, bay leaf and peppercorns.
Add a lid and bring it to the boil over a high heat.
Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Remove the gammon from the pan, and put it into a roasting dish.
Carefully remove the skin from the gammon if still on there, and gently cut a criss-cross into the fat, to make diamond shapes.
Mix the honey and mustard together to make the glaze, and pour it over the gammon, making sure all of the meat is covered.
Add a clove to the centre of each diamond shape in the fat.
Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then allow to rest for another 2 minutes before serving hot or cold – however you prefer!