- December 2013
- Serves 10-12
- Takes 15 min to make, 3-3½ hours to cook, plus soaking, drying and resting
Salty, crisp, juicy crackling ham makes a beautiful centrepiece for Christmas or Boxing Day. Maximum impact for minimum effort – just want you want during the festive season.
- 12.3g (4.1g saturated)
See Wine Match
- ½ British free-range gammon, unsmoked, bone-in (about 4-4.5kg), skin scored for crackling – ask your butcher to do this for you and see tips
- Sea salt
- Heat the oven to 170°C/fan150°C/gas 3½. Put the gammon in a large, shallow roasting tin, sprinkle the skin generously with salt, then transfer to the preheated oven to roast for 2½-3 hours until the internal temperature reads 65°C when measured with a digital thermometer (see tips). Be sure to take a reading from the centre of the gammon but don’t touch the bone with the probe.
- Increase the oven temperature to 230°C/fan210°C/gas 8. Wrap foil around any exposed bits of ham so that only the skin is left unwrapped. Return the ham to the oven to cook for a further 20-25 minutes, until the majority of the skin has crackled and is crisp. You may have to rotate the ham a little to crisp up the parts of the skin not exposed to the hot air.
- When you’re happy with the crackling, remove the ham, take off the foil and rest uncovered on a lipped board for 30 minutes. Carve the ham in generous slices, with the crackling attached, and serve with cranberry relish, chutney or cumberland sauce.
This recipe lives or dies by its crackling, so it’s worth investing in a top quality, free-range British gammon joint. Cheaper, intensively reared meat will be flabby skinned and lacking in a proper fat layer, so you’ll struggle to get it to crackle well. It’s best to go to a good butcher.
You can freeze the cooked meat, carved off the bone in batches. Defrost and use in pie fillings. Make sure it’s cooked through until piping hot.
Here’s what you need to know about ham and gammon: gammon is uncooked, cured pork from the upper part of the hind legs of a pig, whereas bacon comes from the loin (back) or belly. Once gammon is cooked it’s called ham.
Green gammon is another name for unsmoked gammon. The smoked stuff is just called smoked gammon.
Gammon comes in whole joints, bone-in or bone-out, or steaks. A bone-in half-gammon, as used in this recipe, is half a whole gammon. If you want the traditional shape to your half-gammon, ask for the knuckle (lower) half so you have a fat end and a thinner (knuckle) end.
What's the perfect wine match?
Our friends at Majestic Wine recommend Riccitelli Malbec. Gammon, with its sweet-and-salty richness, matches best with wines that have bold fruit. The Riccitelli has fruity charm by the bucket load, and will impress with deep blackcurrant goodness.
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