A traditional ham is the perfect choice if you’ve got a full house with lots of people to feed. We always cook ours on Christmas Eve so that it can be enjoyed on its own and then there is plenty leftover for the festive lunch.
TOP TIPAlthough hams tend to be much less salty nowadays, soaking overnight is still a good idea.
- Place the ham in a large pan and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight is best, then drain.
TOP TIPWeigh the ham and calculate the cooking time, allowing 15 minutes per 450g.
- Place in a large pan and cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum. Add the celery, onion, carrot, bay leaves and peppercorns and return to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer until completely tender, occasionally skimming off any scum that rises to the top. If you are not sure about whether the ham is properly cooked check the bone end – it should come away freely. Leave to cool in the cooking liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/300°F/Gas Mark 3.
- Drain the ham – the stock is a good basis for a soup.
- Carefully peel away the skin, leaving the layer of white fat intact. Using a sharp knife, score the fat in thin straight lines, being careful not to cut into the meat. Brush the fat with the mustard, then stud with the cloves and sprinkle the sugar on top.
- Finally drizzle over the honey and place in a large roasting tin. Pour around the cider and cook for 1 hour until golden, basting every 15 minutes to ensure an even glaze.
- Remove the cooked ham from the oven, transfer to a serving platter and leave to rest for 15 minutes. The lovely juices left in the pan can be used to make a gravy for the ham or added to your turkey gravy, once you’ve skimmed off any excess.