Cooking Gammon

Thinking about Christmas dinner this year I have decided to go for a traditional piece of gammon. Mrs Beeton is a good source for this:

811. INGREDIENTS – Ham, water, glaze or raspings.

Mode.—In choosing a ham, ascertain that it is perfectly sweet, by running a sharp knife into it, close to the bone; and if, when the knife is withdrawn, it has an agreeable smell, the ham is good; if, on the contrary, the blade has a greasy appearance and offensive smell, the ham is bad. If it has been long hung, and is very dry and salt, let it remain in soak for 24 hours, changing the water frequently. This length of time is only necessary in the case of its being very hard; from 8 to 12 hours would be sufficient for a Yorkshire or Westmoreland ham. Wash it thoroughly clean, and trim away from the under-side, all the rusty and smoked parts, which would spoil the appearance. Put it into a boiling-pot, with sufficient cold water to cover it; bring it gradually to boil, and as the scum rises, carefully remove it. Keep it simmering very gently until tender, and be careful that it does not stop boiling, nor boil too quickly. When done, take it out of the pot, strip off the skin, and sprinkle over it a few fine bread-raspings, put a frill of cut paper round the knuckle, and serve.

If to be eaten cold, let the ham remain in the water until nearly cold: by this method the juices are kept in, and it will be found infinitely superior to one taken out of the water hot; it should, however, be borne in mind that the ham must not remain in the saucepan all night. When the skin is removed, sprinkle over bread-raspings, or, if wanted particularly nice, glaze it. Place a paper frill round the knuckle, and garnish with parsley or cut vegetable flowers.


812. INGREDIENTS – Vinegar and water, 2 heads of celery, 2 turnips, 3 onions, a large bunch of savory herbs.

Mode.—Prepare the ham as in the preceding recipe, and let it soak for a few hours in vinegar and water. Put it on in cold water, and when it boils, add the vegetables and herbs. Simmer very gently until tender, take it out, strip off the skin, cover with bread-raspings, and put a paper ruche or frill round the knuckle.

So bearing this in mind I had a trial last weekend which involved a small piece of gammon (for a table of three). Glazing looks great and is actually not too difficult.

So after preparing my gammon and strip the skin off leaving as much fat as I could, scored it in the traditional diamond shape and them inserted  a clove into the centre of each diamond shape…I have to be honest here, I wasn’t that hopeful!

I mixed Spanish Lavender Honey, Sherry Vinegar, Demerara Sugar and Madeira, heated and then simmered for a few minutes, poured over half, roasted for 15 minutes and then added the rest spooning over frequently as it cooks.


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