How to cook the perfect roast ham

How to cook the perfect roast ham
Thinking of trading your turkey for an alternative centrepiece this Christmas? A sweet and succulent roast ham could be just the showstopper you’re looking for. With a bit of prep, this festive favourite is really easy to make at home and is perfect for feeding a crowd. And, for anyone scaling down celebrations this year, you’ll have incredible leftovers to enjoy for days.
  • 3-4 kg middle cut higher-welfare gammon, with knuckle left on
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 16 black peppercorns
  • 1 bouquet garni (1 piece of leek, 1 stick of celery, 1 fresh bay leaf, 1 sprig of fresh thyme)
  • 2 lemons or oranges
  • 1 jar of quality thin-rind marmalade
  • ½ a bunch of fresh rosemary (15g)
  1. Place the gammon in a large, snug-fitting pot.
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  3. Roughly chop and throw in the carrots and celery, with the bay leaves, peppercorns and bouquet garni.
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  5. Peel the zest from the lemons, then squeeze in the juice.
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  7. Cover with water. Place the pot over a high heat, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes with a lid on, skimming away any scum that rises to the surface, as and when needed.
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  9. When the time’s up, remove from the heat and allow to cool for half an hour in the broth – this will allow the flavours to really penetrate the meat. Remove the veg and put the broth in a container for freezing.
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  11. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. Carefully remove the meat to a board and, using a knife, take off the skin.
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  13. Depending on the breed and quality of the meat, you should have a nice layer of fat. Remove some of the fat, to leave you with about 1cm. The extra fat can be kept in the freezer for roasting with potatoes another time.
  14. Score the fat left on the meat in a criss-cross fashion and, while it’s moist, season it generously with black pepper.
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  16. Place the ham in a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes, or until the fat renders and becomes slightly crispy.
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  18. Remove the tray from the oven, stir the marmalade to loosen, then brush it all over the meat, and strip over the rosemary.
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  20. Return the ham to the oven for about 1 hour and baste frequently until beautifully golden and crisp.
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  22. Serve as you would a roast dinner or as part of a festive spread.