Spiced Christmas Ham

This is a real festive treat. I was never one for thick cuts of ham, it just didn’t seem right. Then I discovered a Christmas-time recipe that I now make every year; and every year it is the one thing people want more of  and never tire of eating. A boneless mild cure gammon, soaked in the flavours of fennel, anise, coriander and cloves. The whole lot is then glazed in cinnamon and smoked paprika. Not only does it taste wonderful, but the house smells even more of the Christmas cheer. I have put this on now so that you can do it if you want. When mine is done, a picture will follow.


For the Ham

  • 2.25-2.75kg/4lb 15oz-6lb 1oz mild cure gammon
  • 250ml/8fl oz red wine
  • 3 litres/ 5 pints water (this approximate and depends on the size of the ham)
  • 1 large onion halved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 fennel bulb halved
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed peppercorns

For the Glaze

  • 16 cloves
  • 4 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly
  • Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Half teaspoon of red wine vinegar

Preparation method

  1. Put the ham into a large pot, then add all the ingredients for the ham, and add some more water if the ham isn’t covered. Bring it all to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pan.
  2. Cook the lot for about two and half to three hours (it works out to one hour a kilo) plus an extra fifteen minutes.
  3. For the Glazing: preheat the oven to 230c/440f/Gas 9.
  4. Remove the ham from the liquid. Strip off the rind and if the fat is a bit on the thick side take some of that off too. Using a sharp knife cut a diamond pattern into the ham about 2cm apart. Stud each diamond with a clove.
  5. Put the cinnamon, paprika, jelly, red wine vinegar in to a saucepan and whisk the lot together over a high heat until it boils. Let it all bubble so that is become more like a syrup.
  6. Layer a roasting tray with foil, and put the ham on top. Pour the glaze over the ham and put it into the oven for 15 minutes until the glaze and fat is burnished.
  7. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before you carve. Thick slices please, no messing about.


Published by

Cooking At Zero Degrees

This is a blog (it also works on an ipad and now has a Facebook page) about what we eat at home. Starters, mains, sauces, side dishes, cocktails and links to local shops. It’s all here. Food is fun, it should be fun to make and fun to eat. For some people making a meal is a chore. If it is then don’t do it; but please, it’s better to eat something, anything, that you make at home from scratch, because prepared, packaged supermarket dinners and food have about as much flavour as the plastic or cardboard package they come in. Food cultivation and husbandry is not just a moral argument. Eggs that don’t come from battery hens do taste better, cattle properly reared have more flavour - and just think about it: at its most simple, if they’re not being pumped full of chemicals then you’re not being pumped full of chemicals. How good is that? If you can buy local, use your neighbourhood shops, you will miss them when they are gone. Most of all, have fun making a meal of it! Oh, and why at zero degrees? Because that’s where we live – in Greenwich, London.

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