Nigella Lawson’s ham in Coca-Cola
Don’t judge a book by its cover. This is a perfect mid-week meal to sweeten up your working week.
For the ham
2kg (41⁄2 lb) mild-cure gammon
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
2 litres (31⁄2 pints) Coca-Cola
For the glaze
A handful of cloves
1 heaped tbs black treacle
2 tsp English mustard powder
2 tbs demerara sugar
Put gammon in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from there to help rinse saltiness. Otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over the Coca-Cola.
Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 21⁄2 hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out the timing by reckoning on an hour per kilogram (21⁄2 lb), remembering that it’s going to get a quick blast in the oven later. But do take into account that if the gammon’s been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 240°C/450°F/gas 9.
When the ham’s had its time (and ham it is, now it’s cooked, though it’s true that Americans call it ham from its uncooked state), take it out of the pan and let cool a little for ease of handling. (Indeed, you can let it cool completely and then finish off the cooking at some later stage if you want to).
Then remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove.
Then carefully spread the treacle over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves.
Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat. Cook in a tinfoil-lined roasting dish for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.
Should you want to do the braising stage in advance and then let the ham cool, clove and glaze it and give it 30–40 minutes, from room temperature, at 180°C/350°F/gas 4, turning up the heat towards the end if you think it needs it.
Recipe credit: Nigella