Food for Friends

Baked Sugar-Glazed Whole Gammon. Serves 20 - 25

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Often with Marcus, Hannah, Emily, Josh, Marcia, Richard, Danny, Eloise and Nat - around Christmas

Ingredients: 1 whole gammon* 5.5 – 6.5 kg, 2 tablespoons of made up powdered mustard, 2 heaped tablespoons demerara sugar, plenty of whole cloves.

Pre heat the oven to 160c. You will need extra wide baking foil.

1. Soak the gammon as described below, or according to ant special supplier’s instructions. Then tear off two very large pieces of foil and arrange one lengthways and the other widthways over your largest roasting tin. Place the gammon in the centre and bring the widthways piece of foil up first and seal the two end together by folding over to form a kind of pleat. This should be done loosely so there is room for air to circulate around the gammon. Now bring the lengthways piece up at each end and tuck these all round to seal what is now a parcel.

2. Place the parcel (in the tin) in the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes per 450 grams. About 30 minutes before the end of cooking time, remove the gammon to a clean work surface (you will need help). Increase the oven’s heat to 220c. Now drain off all the juices, reserve these in a bowl: the bacon fat will solidify and can be used for frying and the jelly for enriching lentil or pea soups. Next peel off all the skin from the fat and ham, make a couple of horizontal incisions and you should be able to peel it off in strips. Use a cloth to protect your hands from the heat.

3. Now score the fat with criss-cross cuts, making a diamond pattern. Stud a clove into the each corner the diamond shapes you have cut, then smoother the mustard all over, using a palette knife to spread it evenly. Finally sprinkle the sugar all over and press it in with your hands. Return the gammon to the tin and bake for a further 30 minutes or until it is a glazed, golden-mahogany colour.

4. If you are serving hot, leave it to rest for about 45 minutes before carving. If cold, leave it to cool slowly overnight. We serve ours, hot or cold with Cumberland sauce.

* When cooking a whole gammon soak it in a bucket of cold water for 2 days, changing the water 2 or 3 times. If you are cooking a cut of gammon just cover it with cold water in a large saucepan, bring it to the boil, then throw the water out and bake as above.