How to cook gammon

Video guide to baking a joint of gammon ham

Lucy: Hi, I'm Lucy.

Claire: I'm Claire and we're going to show you how to bake a ham.

Lucy: Baking a ham is really simple. The first thing you need is to get a nice joint of gammon. This is about 1.5kgs here and it will feed a family of four for a good couple of meals. It's delicious served in lots of different ways. You can have it hot, you can have it cold.

Claire: Shredded in a salad.

Lucy: With egg and chips. Yes, the possibilities are endless. First of all, it needs to go in the water.

Prepare to cook your gammon joint

Claire: We're going to cook it in boiling water but before we put it in, we're going to flavour the water with some onion, about an onion there, and a couple of carrots and some bay leaves.

Lucy: Shall I take that and then you can get the meat in.

Claire: Yeah, and then half a dozen peppercorns. You can have seven or eight if you want, that's fine.

Lucy: Live a little. Do you want to put it in?

Claire: Yeah, and now this goes in for 20 minutes, simmering. There we go.

Lucy: Are you going to pop the lid back on and bring it up?

Claire: Yeah, bring it to the boil and then simmer it for 20 minutes.

Lucy: Shall we go and wash our hands and then wash the board because of the raw meat?

Claire: Yeah.

The gammon's been simmering for 20 minutes. We took it out of the saucepan and it's been resting here for five minutes and now it's cool enough to score.

How to score and add marinade to gammon

Lucy: This is the bit that makes it look really professional, hopefully. You just get a very sharp, I prefer using a small, knife and you just score through the fat. As you can see, there's quite a thick layer of fat there and the idea is to penetrate into that to allow the marinade to really get into the meat. It's very easily done once it's been tenderised in the boiling water, so it's not something to be frightened of at all. You don't want to go all the way down to the meat, just about two thirds of the way down, I would say. When we put the marinade on, it will allow it to get really deep down into the meat and get really tasty. And I'm going to do it the other way so we've got really nice pretty diamond shapes.

Claire: Because of this, the marinade will flavour the meat and not just the skin. Obviously you need a very sharp knife for this.

Make a simple mustard marinade

Lucy: Now it's time for a marinade.

Claire: We're going to smear on some wholegrain mustard.

Lucy: Lovely, ham and mustard, beautiful combination.

Claire: Work it in a bit.

Lucy: Do you want me to have a spoon, I can work it in as well. Get all those edges. Perfect. Just on the top of the meat.

Claire: And then I'm going to drizzle over some honey.

Lucy: Gorgeous.

Claire: There we go. It looks beautiful.

Lucy: You could draw your name in it.

Claire: There we go and I'll use another spoon just to...

Lucy: Get all those bits in the corner and I'm going to put some cloves in. Not in between every diamond but just here and there.

Claire: Make it look pretty and flavour it a bit.

Lucy: I love the smell of cloves; they're quite a strong flavour, so we'll just use a few. There. Do you want to sprinkle some pepper over the top? Obviously we don't need salt because of the saltiness of the gammon. Just a last clove just over here.

Claire: Then we just need to ladle a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking liquid in with the gammon.

Lucy: Just at the bottom of the roasting tin.

Claire: And that stops all the marinade from sticking and just keeps the cooking environment quite moist.

How to create tenting to cook a gammon

Lucy:  Last thing to do in this stage is we need to get some foil and make a tent over the ham. That's a really great way to cook it because all the steam circulates and you get a really succulent piece of meat. For a pan this size, we're going to need two strips of foil. The foil mustn't touch the meat, it's called tenting, you make a little dome over it. Happy?

Claire: Yeah, that looks great.

Lucy: Into the oven, 160 degrees for an hour. Can you open the oven door for me?

Claire: Sure.

Baste the gammon and increase the heat

Lucy: That's had an hour in the oven now, it smells absolutely delicious. It's going to go back in at a high heat, 220 for 20 minutes but first of all we need to take the foil off, it's quite off. Take it off like that. Perfect. You can see it looks gorgeous.

Claire: It does, it looks fantastic.

Lucy: And although we put some stock at the bottom, it has got slightly sticky at the bottom, but there are some lovely juices so I'm just going to tip this back and then we can give them a lovely baste.

Claire: I'll ladle them.

Lucy: Looks really treacly and sticky, doesn't it. Gorgeous.

Claire: It is, it's all treacly and rich.

Lucy: And the meat looks lovely and succulent as well. Brilliant, last bit of juices basting it over. Gorgeous. So this is now going to go back in the oven at 220 for 20 minutes and that's just to get it all lovely and crispy, just how you want to eat it.

It’s had its final stint in the oven, its been resting for about five to 10 minutes.

Claire: It looks absolutely delicious.

Lucy: It does, it looks good enough to eat and it's ready to carve. That's how you bake a ham.

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