The festive season is upon us and you might find yourself giving some thought as to what roast you are going to prepare for your family get-together during the holidays. Will it be chicken, lamb, turkey or gammon? Many people find preparing a gammon an intimidating task and are often nervous that they will prepare it incorrectly or cause it to be dry and tasteless.
Never fear, as we have wonderful tips and recipes to ensure your roast gammon is perfect! The best thing about gammon is that you can prepare it well in advance and then on the day (or even an hour before serving) you can prepare the glaze and finish off your gammon.
When choosing your gammon, bear in mind how many people you will be serving and allow between 150g – 170g per person.
When storing your gammon in the fridge, keep it wrapped in its original packaging and in a container away from and below any other cooked food in your fridge.
The first step to preparing your gammon is to simmer it gently in a well-seasoned broth. For this you will need a large stock pot. Gammon usually comes encased in a netting - do not remove the netting as this will help the gammon to retain its shape during the simmering process.
Place your gammon into the pot together with aromatic ingredients such as chopped onion and carrot, sprigs of parsley celery, whole peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves, and cover with water. Bring the water to the boil and then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Do not allow your gammon to boil as this will cause it to become dry and have a grainy texture. Allow 20 minutes simmering time per 450g gammon, plus an extra 20 minutes at the end. Note: You may need to cook the gammon for longer if it has a bone – please follow the cooking instructions on the packaging.
The next step is to remove the skin from your gammon and score the fat. Firstly carefully remove the gammon from the broth, place in a container and allow to cool slightly and rest.
Using a pair of scissors, cut away the netting from the gammon. Then, using a knife, peel off the orangey coloured rind/skin from the outside – this will now leave the thick white fat layer of the gammon exposed.
Using a small, sharp paring knife you can now ‘score’ the fat – in other words, create criss-cross or diamond shapes in the fat layer over the entire joint of gammon. Be careful not to cut into the actual meat – you just want to cut through about two thirds of the fat layer.
You can now insert a whole clove into each alternate incision – this will help to flavour your gammon by permeating the flesh with delicious flavour during roasting, and the incisions allow your glaze to penetrate into the meat.
Place your prepared gammon into a roasting tray that has been lined with a double layer of tin foil and your gammon is now ready for glazing.
Watch your gammon closely while you’re glazing it, as the high sugar content of the glaze means it can burn in an instant. Move the meat around in the oven a few times if you see one part caramelising or browning faster than another.
During the glazing process, baste the gammon a couple of times with the glaze that drips into the roasting tray; you can do this with a pastry brush, or by scooping it up with a spoon and drizzling it on top of the fat.
When your gammon comes out of the oven, continue to baste it by trickling any run-off glaze over the fat. As the glaze cools, it will cling to the fat.
You can choose from one of our delicious recipes, depending on your tastes: