Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Ham in Coca Cola

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
Any recipe that promises to improve upon the naturally wonderful flavor of ham, then, is a must-try for me. The ham was indeed slightly sweet and smokey, and a slice-by-slice enticement. It wasn't quite as moist as a boiled ham normally but I had also thoroughly soaked the salt out of the ham, so that could have affected its moistness.

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
  1. Boil the soda and onion and ham in a large pot and reduce to a simmer once boiling
  2. 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)
  3. When it approaches the end of the boiling time, pre-heat the oven to 240 C
  4. 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)
  5. If there's a skin, remove it, leaving behind a light layer of fat
  6. Score the fat into a diamond pattern, and insert a clove into each of the diamonds
  7. Spread the treacle on top, going gently over the cloves
  8. Pat the mustard and sugar onto the top of the treacle and cloves
  9. 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)


Catherine said...

What a coincidence! We just made a ham yesterday a la Nigella, but using her recipe in Feast I think, boiling it in cranberry and apple juice and glazing with cranberry jelly with cloves. Yum. Totally agree that it is one of the best things to have to nibble on in the fridge!

Peabody said...

You know, I have seen this recipe a ton of times and thought that it would be good...I have had pork that is braised in Dr. Pepper and it was fabulous. I bet this is just as good, if not better. Thanks for making something for the party.

Pille said...

Oh noooo! I hardly ever drink Coke (maybe once a year, perhaps, in a moment of weakness) and now it looks like I must buy one just to try this recipe. I've seen it, but hadn't bookmarked it yet. But given it looks so tempting on your blog, I maybe should try it after all:)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have seen this recipe on her book and was so curious about it!
It looks wonderful and I'm sure the pork lovers in my family would stand in line to have some.

Annemarie said...

Hi Catherine - Ooh, that one sounds good too, and very seasonal. I have my fork and knife ready.

Hi Peabody - Dr. Pepper is a great soft drink ( :) ) and like the suggestion to try that.

Hi Pille - It was the first bottle of coke we had in the house for y-e-a-r-s and there's still a bit leftover that neither of us want to drink!

Hi Patricia - it might not be the way your family wants to do the Christmas ham, but I do think it's a good, family, wintery meal centerpiece.

Deborah said...

I have tried something similar to this before. It was a hit!

Wendy said...

I've been meaning to try this out for a long time. Think you've inspired me to do so soon!

Wendy said...

I've been meaning to try this out for a long time. Think you've inspired me to do so soon!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Love the little ham thing you've got going on there. I've been tempted to make this and shall head straight for it at the housewarming..

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

What, you mean we weren't supposed to turn up at Peabody's house for real. Okay if you could just pop over to ours with a few slices we'd be very appreciative.

Niamheen said...

How funny! I was talking about this recipe yesterday. I have some issues with drinking coke and so have never made this but I know some people that have and that rave about it. Including one aunt who was horrified to find a ham in Coke in her sink once xmas eve only to spend the next few days saying how lovely it was.

Looks delicious.

Annemarie said...

Hi Deborah - glad to hear that your group liked it, too.

Hi Wendy - oh good! Channeling the spirit of Nigella is very worthwhile, it seems.

Hi Amanda - I hope someone was at least home to let you know the party was canceled. :) Comforting slices of ham are winging their way to you now...

Hi Niamheen - it must be something about this time of year, that makes us want big, comforting slabs of meat we can pick at. Oh how I'm looking forward to Christmas!

Figs Olives Wine said...

I always wondered about this Nigella recipe! You make it sound so good that I think I'll finally give it a whirl. I'm with you on her use of cream, by the way. It puts me off some of the recipes - seems like overkill.

Gigi said...

We made this ham for Thanksgiving! Small world. It was really good.

Gretchen Noelle said...

This sounds delicious! I love hams, but have never done one in Coca Cola. what a great idea!

Annemarie said...

Hi Amanda - The cream, and the butter too. Those poor, poor cows.

Hi Gigi - small world indeed, though it shows that food bloggers are similarly clever creatures. :)

Hi Gretchen - do give it a go - hope you won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

years ago i did a roast lamb in coffee and it was just divine i remember. not long after we'd eaten it, i went into labour with my daughter and have never touched meat since ....

Anonymous said...

I've had this a number of times and it is SOOOOOO good. It's easy to make, too. The best way to prepare ham, in my opinion!