One of the things that amuses me about Nigella Lawson's cooking is the unexpected combinations many of her dishes throw up (what I don't like? The cream, cream, cream). There's a sweet rosemary bread (recently made by Pille at Nami-Nami), a gin and tonic jelly, and this ham in Coca Cola. A normally savory and salty meat dish is sweetened and lightly glazed by boiling it in a pot of soda and roasting it in an oven. Nigella says she channeled the recipe from something similar done in the South, to give the ham a smokey barbeque flavor without going through the effort of a full-on barbeque.
Now I absolutely adore ham (I know, I know, I adore lots of food stuffs, cheese, popcorn, and peanut butter among them). The proof?
- I haven't taken Mr A&N's surname in marriage, but I do mean it that if his name were Cheeseman or Hammings (unlike his actual name, Hemmings), I would have taken it.
- I strongly advocated for us to move to either the towns Ham or East Ham in London, purely due to their names; instead, I've had to settle for Walthamstow (see? it's in there).
- For our first Christmas together, Mr A&N gave me the gift only a man who understood me and was destined to be my life partner could give me: a large gammon ham, wrapped up and waiting for me to cook it.
One of the other beautiful things about a boiled ham is that it keeps on giving for many slices, and is equally happy placed in a sandwich or placed straight in the mouth (my favorite route to hammy-ness - why mess with the middle man?). Since a good boiled ham is a reserve that can feed dozens in comfort, it's also what I have made for Peabody's Housewarming Party, over at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. I wish her as much happiness in her new house as the Christmas present of a ham once brought to me.
Nigella's Ham in Coca Cola, from How to Eat and Nigella Bites
- 2kg mild-cure gammon (ham)
- 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
- 2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola
- For the glaze:
- handful of cloves
- 1 heaped Tbs black treacle
- 2 tsp English mustard powder
- 2 Tbs demerara sugar
- Boil the soda and onion and ham in a large pot and reduce to a simmer once boiling
- Cover most of the way, and boil for close to 2 1/2 hours (roughly 1 hour / kilo plus 15 minutes if it's just come out of the fridge)
- When it approaches the end of the boiling time, pre-heat the oven to 240 C
- Remove ham from the pot, keeping the cooking liquid behind, and let ham cool slightly so you can handle it (or entirely if you want to finish the glaze another time)
- If there's a skin, remove it, leaving behind a light layer of fat
- Score the fat into a diamond pattern, and insert a clove into each of the diamonds
- Spread the treacle on top, going gently over the cloves
- Pat the mustard and sugar onto the top of the treacle and cloves
- Line a roasting pan with foil, place the ham in it, and cook for 10 minutes (or, if you've let the ham cool all the way, cook for 30-40 minutes)