Spiced crumbed Christmas ham
The secret to making sure your ham is amazing is to buy well, so this means buying a proper dry-cured ham from a proper free range and happy pig. The timings and measurements below are for a 4kg ham, which will feed around 10-12 people. Make sure you’ve got a pot large enough to poach it in and that it can fit in your oven! Serves 10-12 whole ham 1, about 4kg mirepoix a selection of roughly chopped carrots, onions, celery and leek faggot of herbs containing celery, bay leaf and strips of orange peel, bound with strips of leek spice bag containing a few each of fresh ginger pieces, whole cloves and mace blades, and 1 cinnamon stick brown bread 300g clear honey 150ml water 300ml butter 50g salt English mustard 3 tbsp Christmas spice mixture 5g (see below)
For the Christmas spice mix
ground nutmeg ground cinnamon ground ginger ground clove Directions If using a proper dry-cured English ham, soak it for 2 hours before poaching gently in a large, snug pot for 20 minutes per kilo with the mirepoix, the herbs and the spice bag.
When the time’s up, remove from the heat and allow to cool for half an hour in the cooking liquor – this will allow the flavours to really penetrate the meat.
Preheat your oven to 160C/ gas mark 3. Carefully remove the ham to a board and remove the skin. Depending on the breed and quality of the pig, you should have a nice layer of fat. Remove some of this fat, leaving about 1cm.
Meanwhile, for the Christmas spice mix, combine the ingredients to taste – I like to go heavy on nutmeg and light on clove but each to their own.
Score the fat left on the meat in a criss-cross fashion and, while it’s moist, season generously with the Christmas spice mix.
Cut the crusts off the brown bread and rip into small pieces. Melt the butter over a medium heat until it begins to brown, add the clear honey and the bread and season with a little salt. Lightly toast until golden and let cool before blending to a fine crumb.
Place the hot ham into a roasting tray with 300ml of water and brush with the mustard, dust with spice mix and coat generously with the honey breadcrumbs before placing in the oven.
Roast for 20 minutes per kilo. When the time is up, remove from the oven and transfer the ham to a clean dish to rest for 30 minutes before thinly slicing with a razorsharp ham knife. Serve with classic roast garnishes and reserve any leftovers for cold cuts on Boxing Day.
Spiced brown breadcrumbed Christmas ham