Alrighty, not long to go till the Big Red Man comes! Time to think of Christmas Day’s menu. Well, think no further, I’ve taken the thinking out for you. If you asked me, or my family for my best ever recipes, this is IT. Easy. It makes me happy even writing this blog post – I just wish I could capture the smell of it cooking and share it with you! I always have a lot of ‘friends’ in the kitchen when I make this.
I stumbled across this recipe in a Christmas themed Cuisine magazine* when I was in my mid 20s. I’ve made it at Christmas ever since, and I’ll often make for other special occasions, like a family reunion, birthday party, or even if we have a group of friends coming for a weekend (we can feast off slices of ham for days). Actually, I’ve already made this for two separate family occasions in the last month and I’m making another one on Sunday for a friend’s Celebration Lunch. Last year I shared this recipe with my work colleagues and I was delighted to arrive back at work after Christmas to a flood of emails saying ‘your ham was amazing!’ One colleague loved it so much, she gave it to the caterers at her sister’s January wedding and they put this on the Wedding menu! But, best of all, my Aunty Angie, who has been hanging out for this recipe, is making this in the UK this year for her family this year – and my brother (who has been living in the UK for far too long!) is joining them. This recipe is for you my wonderful family. Merry Christmas. xx
1 cooked ham - any size, the bigger the better... You need one with fat on it (and the rind).
2 tablespoons wholeseed mustard
1/3 cup finely grated fresh ginger
1 cup dark cane (Muscovado sugar) - or you can use brown (it's not quite as good, but still good!)
330 mls dark beer (such as Monteith’s Black Beer, Guinness, or Coopers Best Extra Stout)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Carefully slice beneath the rind of the ham at the base and then slide your fingers between the ham rind and the fat layer (note, the ham I used had had the rind removed and quite a bit of the fat... Grrrrrr!!!) The rind will come away quite easily but can tear so work slowly, gently forcing your fingertips between layers. This can be done with a small knife, but may result in an uneven, cut-up surface. You need to retain as much fat on the ham as possible for scoring. Biff the rind in the rubbish.
Score the fat: Using a sharp knife, score the fat in diagonal lines 3cm apart. Then repeat from the other side of the ham to create a diamond pattern. The scores will capture and absorb all of that delicious glaze....
Place the ham in a large roasting dish.
In a bowl combine the mustard, ginger and sugar with just enough of the beer to form a thick paste and set aside (go slowly with the beer, you don't want the paste too thin).
Pour the remaining beer over the ham then place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Baste with the beer halfway through.
Remove the ham from the oven and carefully smear the scored fat all over with the sugar paste. Return to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes or until golden, basting halfway through.
Remove ham from oven and place on a bread board. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes (This is key to keeping the meat nice and juicy).
Begin carving and fight away people who come 'for a look'.