How to cook your Christmas Ham….

Christmas dinner is one of the most delicious feasts we will enjoy all year, and many look forward to it every year. On the other hand many people dread having to cook Christmas dinner….Its stressful…..its complicated….how long do I cook this for….what temperature do I do that at.

Not to worry…. We are going to give you a recipe below for the perfect Christmas day Ham, that will make your life easier and please every one around your table.

The Ham….Dry Cured or Wet Cured??

How you cook your ham depends firstly on how the ham was cured. Curing meat is a preservation method that extracts moisture from the meat and inhibits pathogen growth, which allows you to prolong the shelf life of the meat as well as changing the flavor and texture of the meat. The two most common methods are dry curing and wet curing. Both are pretty self explanatory in the sense that dry cure is done with a cure not containing liquid, whereas wet cure consists of a brine.

The main difference in these methods is that a wet cured ham will take on more water/salt and usually results in a salty taste. In order to drive off this salt and water you first need to boil the ham. Now with a dry cured ham, generally you can cook it without boiling.

 

To Boil or Not to Boil??

As mentioned above, if you have purchased a wet cured ham then yes, absolutely boil it first, otherwise you may be left with a very salty ham that will be leaving everyone reaching for the water jug. When boiling a ham, only boil it for the first 5-10 mins, basically until the water comes to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. This method will keep the ham lovely and tender. Allow 15mins cooking time per LB. Always check core temperature of meat is greater than 74 degC and cooked through.

If you are boiling your ham, use this opportunity to pack in more flavor. Add some lovely aromatics to your water, like clove, honey, cinnamon stick, nutmeg,  or one of our favorites “Irish Black Butter”, to give a lovely rich colour.

If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a Corndale Free Range Dry cured ham then you don’t need to boil prior to glazing. What we suggest is putting the ham in a roasting tray on a bed of sliced onion, carrot and apple. Put a cm of water in the bottom of the tray and cover with foil. Pop in the oven at 190 DegC, for approx 15mins per Lb.

20mins before the end of the cooking time remove the ham from the oven. Remove the skin and score the fat. you can then apply your glaze or choice of flavorings.

 

Glaze or Dry Rub….

Being the traditionalist I always glaze our roast Christmas ham. That said, I recently experimented with a dry rub for the ham rather than the traditional glaze. I used this recipe at a local cookery demo and it was very well received & many preferred it to the glaze recipe. If you fancy something different this Christmas and want to break the norm then give it a go. It is very simple and takes very little time. I have included both recipes below….

 

Both recipes below are for a 4-6Lb ham. If you are cooking a larger ham, double up the ingredients. The glaze will keep well in the fridge and pop the dry rub in an air tight bag or container. Any extra will be a welcome addition to a cheese and ham toastie!

 

Glazed Christmas Ham

In this recipe we go with a traditional honey mustard glaze and add a little Christmas flavorings.

2 Tablespoons Demerara Sugar

1 Tablespoon Organic Runny Honey

1 Tablespoon Irish Black Butter (this is a Bramley apple preserve, made with treacle, cider, brandy & spices)

1 1/2 Teaspoons English Mustard (use Dijon if you don’t like it hot)

1 Teaspoon Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

1 Teaspoon Crushed Clove

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Smother over the scored ham and return to a hot oven (220 degC) for a final 20-30mins. Feel free to baste the ham with any left over glaze throughout the cooking.

 

Dry Rub Christmas Ham

2 Tablespoons Demmerara Sugar

1 Tablespoon Cloves

1 Cinnamon Stick

2 Star Anise

1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds

Pinch Salt

Pinch Black Pepper

Rapseed Oil

Combine all ingredients in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar. Whiz or grind them up until you have a fine powder. Drizzle the scored ham with some Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil and dust over your dry mix. Give it a good rub to ensure evenly coated. Return to a hot oven (200DegC) to allow the fat to crisp up.

 

There you have it, two simple recipes sure to please all your guests this Christmas. Make sure and rest your ham for at least 15-20mins after removing from the oven. This will ensure the ham is beautifully tender.  Carve with a sharp knife and enjoy.

 

We wish you all a very merry Christmas. Happy Cooking.

Alastair & Team Corndale 🙂

 

 

 

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