how to do ham …

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Over the years I created several posts about ham …

Now we are approaching Xmas season – so I thought that some sort of roundup might be quite a good idea, because a delicious big chunk of ham is appropriate for any winter get-together if before Xmas, during Xmas or after Xmas.

In general the process to create a ham dinner is always the same – so I’ll present 2 different results … one is based on a recipe of Nigella Lawson, the other on a recipe of Lorraine Pascale (the books are linked to my cookbooks).

We always start w/ a cured ham of about 1,5 up to 2,0 kg.

We need a big pot to cook the ham.

To create different flavors i. e. different results we need different ingredients for the cooking session. (Later on als different ingredients for the glacing act …)

Nigella’s recipe needs red onions & lots of Coca Cola … while Lorraine prefers an Asian style flavor w/ lemon grass, ginger …

We fill the pot w/ the ham, the liquid & all the other ingredients for the cooking session and bring to a boil. Afterwards we let it simmer, lid closed, for about 90 – 120 min, depending on the size of the ham.

Finally let’s rescue the ham & cut off the skin (or crust) – carefully! A layer of fat, about 5 mm, has to remain. Slice the layer crosswise (like a diamond shape!) & pin cloves into the crossings.

What to do w/ the liquid?
Rescue it & store for further use as a basis for a sauce or a soup.

Now it’s time to prepare the glacing.

Nigella mixes honey & mustard. (Instead of honey you may also use sugar beet syrup …)

Lorraine mixes orange juice & orange zest, honey (or sugar beet syrup), garlic, soy sauce, 5-spices-powder, chili … This glacing will be cooked before applied to the ham.

The ham will always be covered generously w/ the glacing. The glacing is sticky – it’s necessary to get a sticky glacing. Best is to put the ham on a baking tray or in a big casserole before applying the glacing. The ham may rest for some hours or until the next day. (Don’t put it in the fridge!)

Then there is the oven session …

Let the ham heat up in the oven at 200° C fan for about 45 – 60 min, depending on the size of the ham. Then start the grill at 220 – 240° C for 5 min or so. Watch the ham: if it starts darkening (aka turning black!) rescue the ham & serve. (Don’t forget to pick the cloves w/ a tweezer & discard them!)

Once I made a ham & served it together w/ beans & more vegetables. I remember having created a sauce out of the cooking liquid.


how to do ham …
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Servings: 8 (6 – 10)
  • 1.500-2.000 g mild-cured ham
for cooking Nigella's ham:
  • 2.000-2.500 ml Coke (aka Coca-Cola)
  • 2 red onions (big ones – roughly chopped)
for cooking Lorraine's ham:
  • 2.000-2.500 ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns (mixed)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a piece of fresh ginger (about 5-6 cm – roughly sliced)
  • 2-3 star anises
  • 1 tbsp cloves
  • 2 dried chilis
  • 10-15 stems dried or fresh lemongrass
preparing the ham:
  • lots of cloves
for the glacing of Nigella's ham:
  • 3 tbsp sugar beet syrup or honey 
  • 3 tbsp mustard (hot & spicy, but not sweet)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
for the glacing of Lorraine's ham:
  • 2 cloves of garlic (pressed)
  • 50-60 ml orange juice (juice of about half an orange)
  • zest of half an orange 
  • 125 g honey or sugar beet syrup
  • 175 g brown sugar
  • 1 dried chili
  • 1 tsp 5-spices powder
  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
how to:
  • Put the ham – skin down – in a fitting pot w/ lid. Add all the ingredients for cooking the ham. The ham shall be covered w/ liquid. Add some more liquid if necessary.
  • Bring to a boil. Cover the pot & let the ham simmer for 90 – 120 min (depending on its size).
  • Take the ham out of the pot & save the liquid for later. (Concerning the flavoured cooking liquid: you can use it as you like … maybe a basis for some sauce!)
  • Carefully cut off the skin & the fat underneath – only a fat layer of about 5 mm shall remain.
  • Cut the fat layer in diamond shape & pin a clove in each crossing.
for Nigella's glacing:
  • Mix the mustard & the syrup. Add salt & pepper to taste.
for Lorraine's glacing:
  • Mix the ingredients for the glaze in a pot & bring it to a boil.
  • Let it simmer about 20-30 min.
for the finish of the ham:
  • Put the ham on a baking tray or in a casserole – ready for the oven session.
  • Cover the ham generously w/ the glacing.
  • Let it rest until you'll need it for finishing (up to some hours or overnight). Don't put it in the fridge.
  • Let the ham heat up in the oven at 200°C for about 45 – 60 min.
  • Put it under the grill (220 – 240° C) for about 5 min & watch; stop the grilling when the ham starts burning (aka turning black).
  • Put the ham on a cutting board; remove the cloves with a pair of tweezers & cut into slices.
Servings: depending on the size of the ham … (at least: 6 … up to 10!)
Cook time: it’s the cooking of the ham & the following oven session – about 2 – 3 h (depending on the size of the ham). The cooking of the glacing isn’t included.

(information on equipment)

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keep it simple. be flexible. always.