Glazed ham with prickly pear chutney

Glazed ham with prickly pear chutney

By
From
Real Food by Mike
Serves
10
Photographer
Alan Benson

There is no such thing as a boneless leg of ham, as that would be gammon. However, you are welcome to make this recipe with a piece of gammon if you choose. Although if it’s Christmas, you really should bring out the big guns and do the whole leg of ham. (Note that when you order a leg of ham, it comes already cured and cooked. If it was raw it would be a leg of pork.)

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 leg of ham, bone in, or buy an 'easy-carve' ham, which has the femur and hip bone removed
30-40 cloves
60g english mustard
or 1 tablespoon english mustard powder
55g soft brown sugar
a water sprayer

Prickly pear chutney

Quantity Ingredient
125g sultanas
5g salt
150g caster sugar
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4cm fresh ginger, finely diced
250ml white-wine vinegar
1 pinch saffron
1kg prickly pears, cut into 1cm dice

Method

  1. For the prickly pear chutney, heat a large heavy-based saucepan over medium–low heat. Add all the ingredients, except the prickly pear, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the prickly pear and boil for 5–10 minutes until the mixture becomes glossy and starts to bubble like a volcano.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately transfer the contents to a 1 litre sterilised jar (or several smaller jars). The chutney will need to be above 85°C when the lid is put on, in order to form a vacuum to preserve the chutney. Use a thermometer to check the temperature.
  3. Place the ham on a board, skin side up. Using your fingertips or a small knife, prise the skin away from the fat, to separate it from the flesh, then fully peel the skin back.
  4. Take an educated look at the ham, searching for the very fatty pieces and trim it so there is about a centimetre of fat covering the leg. Then score the fat into a lattice or diamond pattern just down to the meat, making sure not to penetrate into the flesh. Place a clove at the intersection of every diamond, pushing the cloves in firmly so they’re secure. (These will perfume the flesh as they warm in the oven.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 220°C – remember that the ham is already cured and cooked and all you are doing is glazing it to serve.
  6. Place the leg of ham on a wire rack set in a large, heavy-based baking tin, with a little water in the bottom of the tin so the ham doesn’t burn and smoke out your oven.
  7. In England, you will find that the best mustard comes in powdered form. If you can find a good-quality powder, lightly dust it over the leg. However, quality prepared English mustard is almost as good. If using mustard from a jar, smother a thin layer all over the fat so the ham is covered. Scatter brown sugar all over your ham so it sticks to the mustard and forms a beautiful layer on top.
  8. Put the ham in the oven and watch it carefully – you don’t want the sugar to clump and go hard. If you notice any pockets of sugar, they will set like toffee. Get the water sprayer and give the ham a little spritz to hydrate the sugar and help to melt it and glaze the ham.
  9. Your ham will be beautifully glazed in about 30 minutes. If you think it’s getting too dark too soon, reduce the oven temperature and continue to cook until you have a lovely caramel sheen over the layer of fat.
  10. It’s best to warm the ham in the oven just before you’re ready to serve. If you do it too early, the ham fat will solidify and not be as pleasant to eat
  11. Remove the ham from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes while you call your friends to the table and prepare the accompaniments. Slice the ham thinly across the grain for the tenderest pieces. Serve with chutney on the side.

Note

  • Be very careful peeling the prickly pears – if you get those needles in your fingers, chances are you won’t get them out till the next day. I find the best thing to do is handle the pears with gardening gloves. Using a sharp knife, take the top and bottom off, then run a knife down the length of the fruit to remove the skin.

Medicinal Benefit

  • Pork is rich in B complex vitamins. These help convert food into energy, lower plaque build-up in arteries and help make serotonin, which plays a key role in regulating sleep, moods and appetite. B vitamins also help make red blood cells and boost the function of the immune system. Pork is a good source of selenium, which helps with healthy thyroid activity, and zinc, which is essential for a sharp sense of taste and smell and the healing of wounds. Prickly pears are a rich source of dietary fibre, helpful for digestion but also for reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They contain vitamin A (good for the eyes), B complex vitamins, vitamin C and flavonoids (which help protect the skin).
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