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Published December 8th 2011
Around this time every year, my beloved begins dropping subtle hints, wanting to know when the Christmas ham will appear in the fridge. However, this year he had another request: 'can we have it without those little things stuck in it?'
Deciding that my usual done to death recipe (with cloves 'stuck in it') was obviously losing popularity, I embarked upon putting together something new and different. I should add at this point that I'm a bit shaky in the cooking area, so trying something new on a big ham was a bit intimidating. Surprisingly, it turned out beautifully.
Choosing the right ham can be an exercise in itself. Many butchers cure their own hams, which are worth seeking out for their extra flavour, if your budget allows. f you don't want to spend as much, be aware that mass-produced hams can sometimes be a little salty, so be sure to shop around. Coles have a good range of reasonably priced hams which are worth a look at. I usually get a ham that's around eight kilos.
Using your fingers, gently remove the skin, then trim any excess fat away with a knife. You'll also need one and a half cups of orange marmalade, quarter of a cup of dijon mustard, half a cup of whisky, as well as some flakes of sea salt.
The marmalade will caramelise and help create a thick glaze
Preheat your oven to about 200░C, then place the marmalade, mustard, whisky and salt in a saucepan over high heat, using a whisk to combine it all. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about five minutes minutes or until it thickens. Strain and set aside.
Using a small, sharp knife, score the ham in a diamond pattern then cover the hock with aluminium foil, which will prevent it from burning. Line a baking dish with non-stick paper, then place the ham on a lightly greased wire rack in the dish. Using a brush, thickly cover your ham with glaze, then bake it for about forty minutes, brushing with more glaze at ten minute intervals. You'll know the ham is ready when it's golden and caramelised.
If you do like cloves, you can poke them into the ham just before baking
Purpose made calico ham bags are great for keeping your ham fresh in the fridge, but a big tea towel or pillowcase will do the job also. Rinse it in a solution of 2 cups of white vinegar and 2 litres of water, then wring it out and wrap it around the ham on the bone - this will keep the ham nicely for a few weeks.
Whether your ham is intended to feed the masses on Christmas Day, or act as a thrown together dinner in the lazy days following Christmas, this marmalade and whisky glaze is sure to be a hit.