This is what I cook if I am catering for a fair few people. So I always cook it for my daughters’ birthday parties. It was my youngest’s 3rd birthday this weekend and we were having a family tea for her.
It’s very easy to cook this ham in a four-oven Aga as you can just leave it to cook away all night. You could cook it in a conventional oven at a low temperature, but I guess that may use a fair amount of electricity and there are probably better ways of cooking a ham in a conventional oven. This is a recipe from my Mum, but I have no idea where she got it from.
This ham weighed 6kg and cost in the region of £17.00 from my local butchers. It fed 8 adults and two children at the party and has supplied us with enough ham for two ham and cheese omelettes, a spaghetti carbonara for four, about five sandwiches, and there’s a bone for the dog when it is all finished, so it is quite a bargain really.
I placed the ham in a large bowl and filled it with water and then drained this water away and refilled with fresh water. I covered the bowl and then kept it in a cold place overnight. Soaking a ham like this makes sure that it is not too salty and because I won’t be boiling it in water is probably wise, but ask your butcher if they think it is necessary when you buy your ham as cures can be different.
The herbs and spices faintly scent the ham and this way of cooking preserves the full flavour of the meat and retains a delicious moistness.
3 bay leaves
15 black peppercorns
5 juniper berries
4 whole cloves
For the glaze:
3 tsp mustard powder
3 tsp soft brown sugar
3 tsp maple syrup
15-20 whole cloves
After soaking the ham in water in a bowl for at least twelve hours place the ham in a deep sided roasting tin with the bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and 4 whole cloves. Cover loosely with foil – make a tent so that the foil does not come in contact with the top of the ham otherwise you may find that the salt in the ham attacks the foil during the long cooking. Place in the simmering oven of a four-oven Aga and leave overnight or for 10-12 hours.
Remove the roasting tin from the oven. Remove the rind of the ham with a sharp knife but leave as much of the fat underneath as you can. Score the fat into diamond shapes with the knife. Mix the mustard, sugar and maple syrup in a small bowl and spread all over the fat of the ham. Pierce the ham at the corners of each diamond with a whole clove. Place in the baking oven of the Aga (about 180°c) for 20-25 minutes until the glaze is bubbling and golden.
Put the ham onto a meat platter and leave to get completely cold and then slice into lovely thick slices.