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Ham in Coke

Asked by CarissaJ. Answered on 23rd December 2010

Full question

For Christmas I will be making the Ham in Coke that I found in one of Nigella's cookbook's. I was wondering if that is a very sweet ham. Many of my family members don't like very sweet meat, or a ham cooked with pineapples and brown sugar, so I was wondering how similar it is to that. Please let me know. Thank you!! Carissa J

I have just started this recipe, but dont know what to do with the saved liquor after the ham is cooked. The recipe says dont throw it way. Please could you give me some ideas as to how to use this Regards Kare

Greetings from the U.S. I am planning to make Nigella's recipe for Ham in Cherry Coke published on page 205 of "Feast". It calls for a boneless mild "cure" ham... Here in the U.S. we have "cured" ham, which is fully cooked. Is this the type of ham I should use? Thank you kindly for you assistance! Fluffyfinch

Our answer

Cooking a ham in cola will impart a slight sweetness to the ham, which is foiled by the saltiness of the meat itself. However it is only the outside of the ham that will really pick up the sweetness, it does not penetrate all the way through the ham. If your family doesn't like sweet glazed ham then you can omit the glaze and just remove the skin and crisp the fat slightly in the oven before serving.

If you have saved the cooking liquor from the ham then there a a few ways to use it. You can use it as the cooking liquid for braised red cabbage. Thinly shred a head of read cabbage, put in a large pot and add enough of the cooking liquor to come just below the level of the cabbage. Add 2 tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the cabbage is tender. You can also use some of the cooking liquor (regular cola rather than the cherry type) as a flavouring for black bean soup or for Boston Baked beans, though you will want to add some stock or water too to make sure the finished dish is not too sweet.

For the US you will need an uncooked ham. Unfortunately these can be quite salty so please see the soaking advice in our earlier post. The sweetness of the soda can help to offset the saltiness to an extent - cooking ham in cola originated in the Southern states where salty country style hams are most popular. If you can only find a fully cooked ham then heat the ham following the supplier's instructions - if you need to cover the ham during reheating then add about 1/2 inch cola to the bottom of the pan and baste the ham with the cola every 30 minutes. Make the glaze from the recipe, adding 2 tablespoons of cola to the glaze - it will need to bubble for an extra couple of minutes to come to a syrupy consistency. Glaze and finish the ham following the recipe in Feast.

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