Sticky Marmalade Gammon
A gammon joint is a must-have at Christmas - not only does it always make an impressing centrepiece, it gives you plenty of delicious leftovers to feed the family for a couple of days. Cooking a gammon joint from scratch is easy and likely to be more economical than buying a ready cooked joint.
- 3.5kg boneless Freedom Food labelled gammon joint (or labelled outdoor bred, outdoor reared, free-range or organic)
- 1 litre fresh orange juice
- 8 cloves, plus extra for studding the gammon
- 1 onion, peeled, halved
- 2 large bay leaves
- Optional, a few whole star anise
For the glaze:
- Put the gammon in a large, deep pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and drain.
- Return the gammon to the pan, and then pour in the orange juice. Pour in enough cold water to cover the gammon completely.
- Push two cloves into each onion half and add to the pan along with the bay leaves. Cover with a lid and bring gently to the boil (this will take about 30 minutes), skim the surface and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook gently for 2 ½ hours, adding more hot water to the pan as necessary. Add the star anise to the water, if using.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C, 350°F/Gas 4.
- Remove the gammon from the pan and sit onto a chopping board. Using a long knife remove the skin, leaving behind a thin layer of fat. Score the gammon in a diamond pattern with the tip of a knife. Place a clove in the middle of a few of the diamonds. Sit the gammon into a roasting tin.
- Mix together the marmalade, honey and mustard. Spoon or brush the glaze evenly over the gammon.
- Roast the gammon in the oven for 45 minutes, basting frequently with the glaze and pan juices, until the gammon is cooked through and golden-brown all over.
Pre-packed, plastic wrapped gammon joints
Most supermarket gammon joints don't look like something that would be served at a banquet for Henry VIII, instead they are plastic wrapped and held together by an encircling plastic band, or even two layers in some cases. If taste is more important than presentation, I prefer remove and discard the plastic banding that come off easily so the joint can absorb the flavours while boiling. The final banding is likely to be easier to remove once boiled. It will probably fall apart while being roasted, but that makes it even better for the marmalade to cover all of the meat.
Notes on gammon cooking times
Usually a gammon joint is cooked by boiling, either in a large saucepan (about 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours depending upon weight), or a quicker method is to cook in a pressure cooker (1 hour). After this process, the gammon will be cooked and perfectly safe to eat, however, often the gammon is then finished by roasted with a glaze (honey, marmalade, branston pickle, etc. This finishing process does make for an extended cooking time but it does give an exceptional finish.