No Christmas is ever complete without a baked ham.
First you must start with a gammon. Gammon is raw, cured bacon leg cut and only called ham when it is cooked. A Baked ham is always a favourite at Christmas and perfect for Boxing Day buffets (or use the same recipe for a delicious Easter lunch).
Baked, stuffed hams are believed to have originated in the Cotswolds centuries ago with Ham Stuffed with Apricots based on a medieval dish from Oxfordshire. The American style glazed crust is infinitely preferable to the original British flour and water crust as it adds sweetness and flavour to the ham.
My Gammon with Apricot Stuffing Recipe is a wonderful take on the traditional baked ham with a fruity, apricot stuffing.
- 6lb / 2.7kg piece of gammon (boned and loosely rolled, )See note below**
- ½ pint/ 200ml red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- ½lb/ 250g fresh apricots or dried and soaked in cold water
- 3 tbsps Demerara sugar
- Put the gammon into a large basin and add the wine and bay leaves. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 6 hours, turning the gammon from time to time.
- Heat the oven to 350F/175C/Gas 4.
- Wash, then dry if using fresh apricots, cut them in two and remove the stones. If using soaked dried apricots, pat dry and cut in two. Remove the meat from the marinade and put to one side. Put the wine, bay leaves and apricots in to a saucepan and simmer until the apricots are soft and have absorbed the wine, approx 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and let the apricots cool slightly
- Dry the gammon thoroughly. Stuff as many of the apricots as possible into the opening of the gammon.
- Wrap the gammon with a double layer of foil and make a slit in the top to allow the steam to escape. Place the wrapped gammon in a baking tin and roast in the oven for 2 hours.
- Remove the gammon from the oven and raise the temperature to 425F/220C/Gas 7. Unwrap the foil and and leave the gammon to cool slightly. Using a sharp knife remove the skin on the gammon leaving a layer of covering fat no more than 1/8". Lightly slash the fat diagonally ¾" apart in both directions to create a diamond pattern and stud the center of each diamond with a clove.
- Smear the sugar firmly over the gammon then put the gammon uncovered into a roasting tin. Bake in the hot oven for 15 mins or until the sugar has melted and turned a golden brown.
The gammon can be prepared a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator unsliced. Don't carve until needed or the ham will lose its colour.
The gammon can be served hot in thick slices with boiled potatoes or cold in thinner slices with chutney, pickles and salad or in sandwiches.
** Always check if the gammon you buy needs to be soaked before cooking to remove the saltiness. Many supermarkets use a milder cure and won't need soaking.