I’m all about the gammons during the yuletide season. I’m not a turkey hater in the slightest, but for me it is all about the cold cuts and hot mash on Boxing Day. So this year I’m giving the jerk ham a go. Basically a Jamie recipe, but I have traded the jerk marinade recipe to the tried and trusted Guardian’s specifications. I also poached the ham in a large pot rather than in the oven. Gammon from Buckwells of Southsea.
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 stick of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 small leek, washed and roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
½ bunch thyme
1 cinnamon stick
For the jerk marinade:
1 tbsp allspice berries
1 tbsp black peppercorns
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
4 spring onions, chopped (use the white part and most of the green)
3 scotch bonnet chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
For the ham glaze:
¾ jar good-quality, fine-cut marmalade
Put the ham in a large pot with all the poaching ingredients. Add water until it covers the gammon. Bake for 1 hour (25 min for every 500g) or until pink and cooked through remove from heat and let it cool for 30 minutes, remaining covered.
While your ham poaches you can prepare the jerk marinade. Pound the allspice and the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar to a powder, then add to a food processor along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, spring onions and chillies. Whizz to a purée, then stir in the sugar, salt, soy sauce and lime juice.
Once your ham has finished poaching, transfer it to a roasting tray and let it cool down a bit. While still warm, put your hand underneath the skin and gently pull it away from the meat, leaving the bit of the fat underneath attached. Then, with a sharp knife, score the ham by lightly making diagonal cuts across the leg.
Using your hands cover the gammon uniformly in the jerk marinade. If you like, you can cover the meat in cling film and refrigerate it overnight but, as we’ve already poached this in some of the jerk seasonings, you can also cook the ham straight away.
Pour a small glass of water into the bottom of your roasting tray and put the ham in your preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 2 hours. Try to baste it every half hour so it gets nice and dark. Once it comes out of the oven, scrape off a bit of marinade with a spatula. Spoon about ¾ of a jar of marmalade over the ham, smear this mixture all over and let it drip down the sides of the ham. Spoon the juices off the bottom of the tray and back over the ham. Put it back into the oven, at the same temperature for another 30 minutes, basting every 5 to 7 minutes. This is all about giving it a bit of love to create a shine and sweetness. Build up that crust and when it’s lovely and dark… it’s ready!
Edit: Don’t forget to keep the veg and ham stock for your pea soup!
The next day…