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Why Did My Slow Cooked Treacle Ham Fall Apart?

Asked by antoinettecurley. Answered on 27th January 2022

Full question

Hi. I have made the Slow-Cooked Black Treacle Ham a few times and I love it. Last year my ham was a bit salty so this year I soaked it for 12 hours before I cooked it. I cooked it in the slow oven of an Aga for 12 hours. When I went to carve it, it fell apart and I couldn’t slice it at all. Where did I go wrong?

Slow-Cooked Black Treacle Ham
Photo by Keiko Oikawa
Slow-Cooked Black Treacle Ham
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Slow-Cooked Black Treacle Ham cooks a gammon (a cured but uncooked ham) is a sealed foil parcel in a low oven. The foil parcel seals in the juices and ensures that the ham doesn't dry out during cooking. But if the ham is on the salty side it can intensify the flavour.

Most gammons nowadays are not that salty, but you can test a gammon by cutting a little piece off and frying it until cooked, then tasting it. Soaking a very salty ham in water before cooking can reduce the saltiness. The problem is that the ham may absorb some extra water and we suspect that this may have led to more liquid coming out of the ham during the slow cooking and causing it to fall apart. If the ham is very salty it may be better to soak and then simmer it, before giving the ham a final blast in the oven to burnish the glaze. Simmering will also help to reduce the saltiness. Nigella's Ginger-Glazed Ham and Ham In Coca Cola are two very popular recipes that use the simmering cooking method.

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