It's beginning to look alot like Christmas!!!! This year I couldn't be more excited about Christmas. I think it's because we have a little girl now so the magic of Christmas has returned to our lives and it makes this time of year extra special.
In addition to Santa visiting us this year, I am cooking Christmas dinner for the first time ever!!!!!!!!! Yes, I usually don't lift a finger on Christmas day other than to help with the dishes after. This year we are having our first ever Christmas Day in our home in Sika Lodge and my husbands parents are going to join us all the way from Roscommon. So with them putting the effort in driving all the way down I want everything to be absolutely perfect. Hence, I am trialing all my Christmas day recipes before the big day to make sure I get everything right and to help me make any tweaks that need tweaking.
I have been devouring Christmas recipe books the last week or so, trying to come up with the ultimate dinner. I am hoping to get ahead and reduce the stress by using some handy make ahead tips. More of that to follow in later posts.
Here we are talking ham! The Christmas ham is my absolute favorite, preferring it to the turkey. The cooking of my Christmas ham begins two days prior to Christmas day. It doesn't take a mountain of actual physical work; but trust me, this extra attention to detail will be worth it when you come to taste it Christmas day and it will be awesome in sandwiches and salads and pasta dishes for days to come.
- 4 kg of Gammon, bone intact
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 peppercorns
- 2 onions, halved
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 bunch of thyme
- 4-5 cloves
- 1 clementine
- 2 cans of cider (I use Bulmers - known as Magners outside of Ireland)
- 200ml of Irish Whiskey
- 200ml of maple syrup
- 2 tbsp of thick cut marmalade
- 1 tbsp of allspice
- 2 tbsp of redcurrant jelly
- Cloves to stud the ham
- Get a large lidded casserole on the hob, add all the vegetables, herbs and cider. Put the ham into the dish making sure its big enough to cover when cooked.
- Add water to the dish to ensure the liquid comes up to almost cover the ham.
- Bring to the boil and bring back to a simmer. Cook the ham for 20 minutes per 500g and then an extra 25 minutes.
- When the time is up, simply cover and leave it in the liquid overnight.
- The following day when you are ready to glaze the ham, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. (Allow 2 hours for this part of the cooking process)
- Take the ham out of the liquid and discard the liquid. Place the ham in a roasting tray. I use disposable foil trays for this as the burnt-in glaze is impossible clean off an oven dish after. Actually I will be using foil trays for most of my Christmas dinner, eliminating the worse part of the clean up.
- With a sharp knife, cut the majority of the fat off the ham, leaving a small white layer. Score the fat, being careful not to cut right through to the meat. Make diagonal cuts the opposite way of the intial scoring to create a criss cross diamond effect. Place 1 clove into each diamond corner.
- To make the glaze, simply add all the glaze ingredients to a saucepan and cook until reduced a little. This should take ten minutes.
- Pour one third of the glaze over the ham and place in the oven. Then 15 minutes later, pour over one third more. And finally 15 minutes later, pour the final glaze over the ham. The ham should start to have taken on a lovely bronze colour. Continue to cook for a further 15 minutes and do a final glazing when removing from oven.When its a lovely golden colour and sticky the meat is cooked.
- Place on a serving platter and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.