Ham It Up
For me, a freshly glazed leg of ham is probably my most anticipated food moment of Christmas. The sticky, sweet golden glaze, caramelised fat and melt-in-the-mouth meat is a triumph in simplicity.
Like a roast dinner, a leg of ham can feed a crowd, but unlike a roast doesn’t need to be served steaming hot which is ideal for the Australian climate. The other great benefit is that it lasts for weeks in the fridge, becoming a staple for nearly every meal of the day until high summer -at which point we’re glad the next leg of ham won’t be till next Christmas!
There are a multitude of glaze recipes out there, all containing the elements required for a successful outcome: a sugar (jelly, jam, brown sugar, maple syrup, fruit juice), an acid (vinegar, mustard, lemon) and the optional extra, spice, such as cloves. As long as your glaze contains these elements it will work. But the real secret to a rich lacquer of glaze is consistent application during cooking. Scoring the ham’s fat layer allows the glaze to flavour through to the meat and also makes for great presentation. In order to save on washing up either line your baking tray with baking paper or use a disposable aluminium baking tray.
To store, ham will keep longer (up to three weeks) on the bone. You’ll need a ham bag, clean cotton pillowcase or a cotton tea towel. Rinse in a mixture of three parts water to one part vinegar, wring out and cover the ham completely and place in the coldest part of the fridge. You’ll need to rinse the cloth every three days or whenever it dries out. While the ham is still large I slice a small plate worth every few days so I’m not lugging the whole leg it in and out of the fridge several times a day.
If you haven’t tried glazing a ham before I highly recommend giving it a go. It’s really quite easy and you’ll be rewarded with such gorgeous flavour you’ll never go back to plain ham.
Orange Glazed Ham
1 (cooked and cured) leg of ham (6-8 kilos)
2 cups (500ml) orange marmalade
1 cup apple juice
2 tbs Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 200°C. To make the glaze, heat the marmalade, apple juice and mustard in a saucepan over high heat, whisking to combine. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes or until dark golden and thickened slightly. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Now on to the ham. Score the skin around the hock in a decorative zigzag pattern. At the opposite end of the ham carefully run your fingers between the skin and fat to pry the skin away to the zigzag cut at the hock. Discard the skin. Score the fat in a crisscross pattern with a sharp knife. Stud each diamond with a clove. Cover the hock with aluminium foil to prevent it from burning while in the oven. Place the ham on a wire rack in a baking tray and brush liberally with the cooled glaze. Bake for one hour, or until the ham is golden, applying another layer of glaze at 10-minute intervals. Remove from the oven to cool and serve at room temperature.
To carve, steady your chopping board with a folded damp tea towel underneath and place the leg of ham atop the board. Hold on to the hock closest to you and using a large, very sharp knife start carving at an angle at the opposite end. Once you’ve reached bone by cutting out as much meat as you can, start at the sides.
Some ideas for ham leftovers:
Fried eggs and ham
Ham and chutney sandwiches
Ham, cheese and tomato toasties
Ham & lentil soup
Ham, tomato and thyme omelette
Vegetable and ham frittata
Ham & pineapple pizza
* This is not an official KitchenAid recipeShare this on: