How To Cook A Christmas Gammon Ham In An Aga Range Cooker
Cider and Maple Gammon
A large gammon joint is a great way to feed a crowd at Christmas, or at any other time of year – Antonia serves it hot on Christmas Eve, served with creamy mash and peas. The cold leftovers are so delicious and make a welcome addition to a Boxing Day buffet or alongside the turkey in the perfect festive sandwich.
Gammon can be salty, soaking the joint overnight helps mellow it. If you forget to do this though, bringing it to the boil and discarding the water works well instead. After an initial simmer on the hotplates, the gammon can be moved to the simmering oven to cook gently for several hours whilst you get on with other things. Decorating the top with cloves looks impressive and isn’t as fiddly as it looks – it also adds a great festive flavour and aroma. If you prefer not to do this though, the ham will still taste wonderful!
You Will Need:
- Large ovenproof casserole - this one is excellent and easy to clean
- A meat trivet
- Fits-on-runners half roasting tin
- A liner for this tin
- A meat thermometer
- An oven grid shelf
- A 2 kg gammon joint, unsmoked
- 1 Carrot, cut into 4
- 1 Onion, peeled and halved
- 1 Stick of celery, cut into 4
- 2 Bay leaves
- 6 Peppercorns
- 500 ml. of Dry cider
For the glaze:
- Approx. 20 whole cloves
- 3 Tbsp of light brown sugar
- 1 Tsp of English mustard powder
- 1 Tsp of wholegrain mustard
- 3 Tbsp of maple syrup
Right, lets get cooking!
2. Add the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns to the pan, along with 250ml of the cider. Top up with water until level with the top of the gammon. Bring to boil on the boiling plate, simmer for 15 minutes before transferring to the simmering oven for approximately 2 hours.*
3. Leave the meat to sit in the liquid for half an hour (or longer) before carefully removing and placing in a small roasting tin. Taking care, remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat on top of the joint. Using a sharp knife, score the fat with diagonal lines – first in one direction and then the other, to create a diamond pattern. Push cloves into the centre of the diamonds.
4. Mix together the ingredients for the glaze and pour over the top, using a pastry brush to ensure the top is well-coated. Pour the remaining 250 ml. into the roasting tin and place in the roasting oven as close to the top as the height of the gammon will allow. You may find that using the grid shelf rather than sliding the tin onto the runners enables you to get closer! It will depend on the shape of your joint. Roast for approximately 20 minutes or until nicely browned, checking often to ensure the top doesn’t burn and to baste the meat with the 'cidery' juices.
5. Remove the joint from the roasting tin and pour the juices into a jug. You can either serve them as they are or make them into a ‘proper’ gravy
*To check if the meat is cooked, I recommend using a meat thermometer – it is done when the centre of joint reaches 75°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, the meat is done when a skewer is easily inserted into the centre of the meat.
A larger joint will take longer – approximately an hour per kg. in the simmering oven.
These festive recipes have been scribed and tested by community member Antonia, (it has been handed down through generations and gradually adapted) who is a hard working mum with two boys. Her recipes are trialed in her much loved Aga range cooker and devoured by her family, allowing Antonia to provide accurate tips and advice on how to make the dishes a success! Go check her work out! She is a country girl, happily surrounded by an excitable Lab, her dear husband, two boys and the Cotswolds.