Olive Magazine asked me to ‘challenge Gordon’ in their December issue, with a Christmas recipe of my choosing; I went for the glazed ham. A reader and their mates then tested both his recipe and mine and decided on a winner.
The idea of a straight ‘glaze-off’ seemed a bit dull and predictable so I decided to mix things up by using the cola method, which I’ve tried before and loved. The ham is covered and bubbled in the syrupy liquor, resulting in a ham infused with an addictive spicy caramel sweetness, helped along a bit by a couple of star anise and the humble onion. I kept the glaze simple with marmalade (zesty bits essential) and teeny hints of ginger and cinnamon. The cola makes the edges caramelise to a sticky, tooth-tacky sheen . And that’s what it’s all about. I burnt my fingers several times trying to pull off the edge bits.
It was a dead heat between mine and Ramsay’s ham, by the way. I can’t say I wasn’t hugely relieved not to lose. I bet he’s quaking in his sweary little boots…
Sweet and Spiced Glazed Ham
1 x 2kg mild-cure gammon
1 x 2litre bottle of cola
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 star anise
For the glaze
Cloves, for studding
225g marmalade (with zesty bits if possible)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Bring the gammon up to room temperature, then put it in a large pan, skin side down, add the onion and star anise and cover with the cola. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and rest the lid on top so that it is not fully sealed. Let bubble for about 2 1/4 hours.
Discard the cooking liquid, remove the ham to a plate and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to gas 7/210 C. Remove the skin from the ham, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat in a diamond pattern and push a clove into the point of each diamond.
To make the glaze, put all the ingredients into a pan and let it bubble up to the boil then simmer for a few minutes until syrupy.
Brush the glaze all over the ham and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the ham, brush on some more glaze and bake for a further 10 minutes. If you do this more often then the outside will be even stickier. If you want to let the ham cool and then glaze it the next day, it will need longer in the oven – about 30 to 40 minutes.