Come Christmas or New Year, there is usually a baked glazed ham on our buffet table. Most often the ham is baked with the flavours of stout, sugar and spice, as in this recipe, with the edges caramelised, so that each slice, with a lot of lean and a little fat, is a perfect mix of flavour.
- 5 6 kg leg of ham
- 2 cans or 1 large bottle Guinness extra stout, reserving 2-3 tbsp for the glaze
- whole cloves (optional)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 2 tsp each ground cardamom and ground ginger
- 2-3 tbsp reserved Guinness stout
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Cut the skin around the thick end of the knuckle (this can be made into a scallop pattern) without cutting into the fat and flesh. Ease the skin from the fat by slipping the thumb of one hand under the skin, and firmly sliding it back and forth. Turn the ham over and ease away the rest of the skin, which should come off in one piece.
Place the ham, fat side up, in a roasting pan with the stout, reserving 2–3 tablespoons for the glaze. Cover with foil, crimping the edges onto the roasting pan, making it as airtight as possible, and bake for 1½ hours. Lift the foil and baste the ham with the drippings several times during cooking.
Remove from the oven, lift the foil and pour off the liquid into a saucepan. Using a sharp knife, score the fat with 4 cm interval diagonal cuts, first one way, then the opposite way, to form a diamond pattern.
Spread half the glaze mixture over the ham and stud a clove in the corner of each diamond if you like. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C and bake for a further 30-40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with the remaining glaze.
If serving hot, leave the ham in the turned-off oven for 30 minutes. If serving cold, cool and store in refrigerator overnight and serve thinly sliced. Place the ham on a stand or large serving platter and garnish with watercress or parsley.
• I got this recipe from the Irish Tourist Board years ago and thought they were way ahead of the times using such unlikely ingredients. Although the ham is already cooked before being baked, further cooking with the stout helps to flavour the meat before the glaze is added. Baking continues at a higher temperature, with the sweet and spicy caramelised glaze really making this a special occasion dish.
• Look at doing a more economical picnic ham (the shoulder with the bone still attached) or a half leg for smaller family gatherings.
• Accompany the ham with a big bowl of still warm boiled new potatoes, tossed in butter, with a grinding of pepper and chopped parsley. Crusty bread, a large green salad and a choice of mustards are the other essentials.
Recipe from Margaret Fulton Christmas by Margaret Fulton, with photographs by Mark Roper. Published by Hardie Grant Books.