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Ham for Christmas

Asked by keen cooker. Answered on 23rd December 2013

Full question

Hi, can I cook the Ham In Coca Cola with cinimmon, apples and onion christmas eve, and then coat/ glaze the ham the day after? if so what would you recommend?

I'd like to make Nigella's Gammon In Cola, but they don't sell gammon here in Portugal. The closest I can think of is the lower, uncured half of a pork's leg. Will this do? Anything else we can get here is a sort of heavily pressed unpleasant thing they calll 'ham' (fiambre).

Our answer

It is possible to fully cook a gammon (cured but uncooked) ham and then reheat it, but in our opinion the ham best if simmered just before serving as reheated ham can have a tendancy to dry out. It can take quite a while to fully reheat a whole ham, so it is also not necessarily quicker to pre-cook and then reheat a ham and it is worth mentioning that the ham requires very little work while it is simmering in the cola mixture.

If you have to to pre-cook the ham then simmer it for the time specified in the recipe but then remove the ham from the saucepan and do not glaze it at this stage. Cool and refrigerate the ham as quickly as possible, and within 2 hours of cooking. Do not forget to reserve and refrigerate the cooking liquid if it is needed for the glazing stage. You can remove the rind from the ham at this point, or just before reheating. You will need to weigh the cooled ham to calculate the reheating time.

To reheat the ham in the oven, put the ham on a rack in a roasting pan and add about 1cm (1/2 inch) water in the base of the roasting pan. Cover the ham and pan with foil and reheat in an oven preheated to 160c/325F for 35-45 minutes per kilo (15-20 minutes per pound), until the ham is just hot all of the way through (an instant read thermometer should read 48c/120F). Remove the ham from the oven and transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Turn the oven up to the temperature required for the glazing step of the ham recipe and glaze the ham following the recipe.

Gammon hams (cured but uncooked hams) are popular and easy to buy in the UK but less so elsewhere. Unfortunately an uncured leg of pork will not be a good substitute ans will need very different cooking. If you can find a whole fully cooked ham then you can reheat this following the supplier's instructions (or as above) and galze at the end following the recipe instructions.

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