In the quest for a good christmas dinner we ended up with wanting to have a large piece of meat as the center piece of the evening. Obviously, we also didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on the day itself so it would have to be possible to prepare for the largest part upfront. Initially we talked about Beef Wellington or maybe a large roast but then last week we started thinking of taking a ham and then quickly it became a glazed ham. Ofcourse the option was to either do a raw ham and cook it from scratch for probably somewhere around 5 hours or be a little bit lazy and go with the precooked version…(That is not lazy, that is just common sense around christmas, right?) So ham it was gonna be! Yesterday I went to the store in Amsterdam and asked the butcher for a nice piece of ham. The ham itself was small (or so I thought) but it still ended up being an entire kilo of meat!! Wow… It didn’t look that big.. ahum. Ofcourse I could not look inside of the ham but in retrospect I should have asked for a bit fattier piece of ham. As you can see from the slices above the meat itself is slightly on the dry side at the top of the piece. It was good and moist under that. To achieve the right glazing effect and warm through I needed to have it in the oven for 40-50 minutes and I did opt for the shorter so 40 minutes, but stil a bit too dry, so I am hoping to find a ham with a little bit more fat on top. Actually now that I think about it; he had a beautiful ham with bone and rind still in tact. That would be perfect! I can remove the rind and then glaze on the fat side. That should do the trick!
For the lovely cranberry sauce I used Jamie’s recipe which you can find here. Initially we thought the taste of the cranberry was a little bit bitter, but as Jamie had already stated in her recipe it needs to be chilled properly before the bitterness changes back to being sweet and tart. And that is what it did. I think we tasted the first bit after about maybe two cooling hours of the cranberry at most, as we were just being impatient ofcourse to taste the ham and sauce together. The ham was still warm too. But after having had the ham in the fridge for a while and the cranberries also for a couple more hours it did work out fine. The sweetness of the hamglaze worked perfectly with the tartness of the cranberries. I did add a little bit of sugar afterwards as it was a bit too tart to complement the ham.
The ham itself was very tasty and gorgeous, apart from the slightly dry upper part. The funny thing was that after being in the fridge for a couple of hours the dryness of the ham had disappeared. I have no idea if that was due to it being in the fridge or that it was just the thicker and therefore juicier part of the ham? Really don’t know!
Now the bubble and squeak croquettes that I made were an entirely different story…but all about that tomorrow. Need to keep the suspense going! We’re having fancy dinner the entire week already, haha… Today we’re changing the amuse to be a little bit of puff pastry with mushrooms, blue cheese and a tiny quail egg on top. How does that sound? So our dinner for tonight is that amuse, the ham and the croquettes (those are vegetables and potatoes, so yes, yes, very healthy…lol..)
The verdict of the puff pastry/mushroom/cheese amuse was that – while delicious – far too heavy as a starter, so we’ll stick to the filodough/guacamole starter which has a lovely freshness which is perfect I think.
I am loving all the cooking and baking I am doing. It’s just that I found out that I am a very messy cook (well, ok, I knew that already ofcourse!) so all that cooking involves also a lot of cleaning. Our kitchen is not big enough to be able to leave all the chaos to the very end, so in between meals/courses; lots of cleaning is required. NOT my favorite thing to do!
Anyway, here is the recipe for the glazing of the ham!
Sticky Marmalade Ham (adapted from Good Food)
1 gammon ham, smoked and/or cooked, approx. 5-6 kg, with bone in
454 gr jar good quality orange marmalade (I used Chivers extra fruity marmalade)
300 gr light muscovado sugar
jar whole cloves
Heat oven to 200C. Put the ham in a roasting tin on a trivet. If you don’t have one, a few halved carrots will do the trick as well. Mix the marmalade with the sugar and 50 ml of water in a small pan, bring to the boil and then set aside and leave to cool.
Score lines into the fat of the ham with a knife to make large diamond shapes, with the lines about 4 cm apart. Brush a third of the marmalade glaze over the joint, really pushing it into the creases and cuts. Now stud the ham with the cloves by poking a clove into the corner of each diamond.
Roast the ham, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, brushing with the remaining glaze a few times during cooking, until caramelised and delicious. Carve hot or cold.
Now what I have to show you is a closeup of one of the cloves after also being caramelized!! Doesn’t it look like a little alien?