Ever since my daughter had a cider-cooked gammon on Christmas in England with her now-husband, I’ve been chomping at the bit to make it. It sounds so British, but also so autumnal. First I had to figure out the American equivalent of gammon.
Thank goodness I have British blogger friends, who worked tirelessly with my predicament, and it wasn’t easy. Linda Duffin, of the blog Mrs. Portly’s Kitchen, finally figured out, with some help, that it is an uncooked Virginia ham. Below are Linda by her infamous Aga, and her gorgeous kitchen where she teaches cookery classes.
I chose an uncooked country Virginia Felts brand ham.
Then I found this, from the blog The Nosey Chef:
The etymology of ham is truly confusing, and it is not helped by trans-Atlantic variations in use. Put simply, a hind leg of a pig is a leg of pork. If that leg is brined, then it becomes gammon. If you cook a gammon, you end up with ham. But if the gammon is served hot from the oven and cut thickly as a main protein in a meal, then it is still called gammon. Let it go cold and slice it thinly, then we are back in ham territory. In the US, the uncooked meat is called a ham, and the word ‘gammon’ never arises. So, in the UK, you can ‘make’ a ham, but in the US, you can only really buy one.
The recipe I used is from Sainsbury’s Magazine online. Sainsbury’s is a large supermarket chain in the UK.
The recipe uses dry cider, which I also had to research, and discovered is what I know of as hard cider, which fortunately is now widely available in the US. My favorite is Strongbow.
You know the joke… “I love cooking with wine. And sometimes I even put some in the food! Well, that’s also me with Strongbow! Cheers!
Spiced Gammon Cooked in Cider
For the gammon:
1 – 2 kg boneless gammon joint (about 4.5 pounds)
1 onion, peeled, quartered
2 whole star anise
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 bay leaves
1 liter dry cider (about 34 ounces)
For the glaze:
Handful of cloves
100 g of dark brown sugar (3.5 ounces)
50 g honey (3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Scrub the gammon to remove the moldy parts.
Place the gammon in a large pan along with the other ingredients, and top with cold water to cover the gammon by an inch.
Bring to a boil, skimming off and discarding any impurities as they rise to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the liquid for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F). Remove the gammon from the stock and transfer to a board. Remove the skin; score the fat into diamonds and stud the fat with the cloves.
Mix together the sugar, honey, mustard and spices. Transfer the gammon to a foil-lined tin and brush the fat with half of the glaze. Since I think I trimmed off a little too much fat, I added a few dabs of butter.
Roast in the over for 20 minutes, spooning the remaining glaze over the top halfway through.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes if serving warm. Slice thinly into the fattest part of the leg, slicing cross-wise.
Cool completely to eat cold. Duh.
I served the gammon with roasted potatoes and my Festive Cumberland sauce.
It was a lovely combination.
So, was it worth it? I enjoyed the process, but I didn’t really taste apple flavor, although the glaze is especially good.
Maybe next time I’ll try another recipe.