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Ham in Coca Cola

by . Featured in NIGELLA BITES
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Introduction

Only those who have never tried this raise an eyebrow at the idea. Don't hesitate, don't be anxious: this really works. No one who cooks it, cooks it just once: it always earns a place in every repertoire.

Only those who have never tried this raise an eyebrow at the idea. Don't hesitate, don't be anxious: this really works. No one who cooks it, cooks it just once: it always earns a place in every repertoire.

Ham in Coca Cola
Photo by Francesca Yorke

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups

For the Ham

  • 2 kilograms mild-cure gammon joint
  • 1 onion (peeled and cut in half)
  • 2 litres coca-cola

For the Glaze

  • handful of clove
  • 1 heaped tablespoon black treacle
  • 2 teaspoons english mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar

For the Ham

  • 4½ pounds cured but uncooked ham
  • 1 onion (peeled and cut in half)
  • 3½ pints coca-cola

For the Glaze

  • handful of clove
  • 1 heaped tablespoon black molasses
  • 2 teaspoons english mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Method

  1. I find now that mild-cure gammon doesn't need soaking, but if you know that you're dealing with a salty piece, then put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over the Coke.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2½ hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour per kilo, remembering that it's going to get a quick blast in the oven later. But do take into account that if the gammon's been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 9/450ºF.
  4. When the ham's had its time (and ham it is, now it's cooked, though it's true Americans call it ham from its uncooked state) take it out of the pan and let cool a little for ease of handling. (Indeed, you can let it cool completely then finish off the cooking at some later stage if you want.) Then remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove. Then carefully spread the treacle over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves. Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat. Cook in a foil-lined roasting tin for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.
  5. Should you want to do the braising stage in advance and then let the ham cool, clove and glaze it and give it 30-40 minutes, from room temperature, at 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF, turning up the heat towards the end if you think it needs it.
  1. I find now that mild-cure gammon doesn't need soaking, but if you know that you're dealing with a salty piece, then put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over the Coke.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2½ hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour per kilo, remembering that it's going to get a quick blast in the oven later. But do take into account that if the gammon's been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 9/450ºF.
  4. When the ham's had its time (and ham it is, now it's cooked, though it's true Americans call it ham from its uncooked state) take it out of the pan and let cool a little for ease of handling. (Indeed, you can let it cool completely then finish off the cooking at some later stage if you want.) Then remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove. Then carefully spread the treacle over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves. Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat. Cook in a foil-lined roasting tin for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.
  5. Should you want to do the braising stage in advance and then let the ham cool, clove and glaze it and give it 30-40 minutes, from room temperature, at 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF, turning up the heat towards the end if you think it needs it.

Additional Information

For gluten free switch the English mustard powder for a gluten free mustard, such as Dijon.

For gluten free switch the English mustard powder for a gluten free mustard, such as Dijon.

Tell us what you think

What 39 Others have said

  • Midway through the cooking, I realized that I've run out of cloves and black treacle. Also, I didn't have mustard powder. So, I had to substitute cloves for a mix of bayberries and red peppercorns. And I made the glaze out of the Dijon mustard, honey, golden syrup, dark soy sauce and demerara sugar. The full report is on my blog Golden Apron, but the bayberries and red peppercorns worked really well both in terms of the taste and decoration. Thank you so much for a very easy and tasty recipe.

    Posted by GoldenApron.com on 9th January 2016
  • I made this today - Boxing day. Initially I had intended making the recent slow baked treacle ham. But really, way too busy. I had a number of discerning guests who, on hearing the cola element, scoffed and scorned. Only to take their words back when the had a taste of the reduction. Had to do a tweak of the recipe. No mustard powder, so treacle and then a mash of english mustard. dark demerera and panko crumbs. Went down a treat. People saying the best ham they had tasted. Just gutted that I don't think there is enough left for a nice bis butty in the morning

    Posted by alizou on 27th December 2015
  • I've prepared my ham in cola now for several years and wouldn't do if any other way - a tradition now in our home at Christmas. Recipe now followed by many of my friends too.

    Posted by nicolet11 on 22nd December 2015
  • Really great! I bought a butt shank ham and cut most all of the fat off. I then low boiled the ham in water for 30 minutes to remove excessive salt. I then drained the water and added enough Coke to fully cover the ham and stove top it at a high simmer or low boil for about 2 hours until it fell apart when forked. I have no idea why, but the finished ham came out with a brown crust on it eliminating the need to put it in the oven and drying it out. Came out perfect!!!!!

    Posted by Bobcat1947 on 19th December 2015
  • brilliant thanks Nigella worked so well all my family and friends love and have tried this x

    Posted by ladyjack20052401 on 4th December 2015
  • Do I have to do the final glazing part or is the ham properly cooked after the boiling part???

    Posted by Veggielass on 25th December 2012
  • Hi, does anyone have any idea how long the ham would last once prepared?

    Posted by Kitchen whizz on 20th December 2012
  • Has anyone tried it with diet coke? Can't use ordinary coke when catering for a diabetic.

    Posted by foxyglove on 11th November 2012
  • I asked my friend who has got the cook book this recipe is from about what should happen to the cooking liquid, she said in the book it is used in a separate recipe for barbeque beans. I couldnt find the bean recipe on the internet, so unless you have better luck tracking it down, I guess it is buy the book or chuck the stuff down the sink!

    Posted by Ms Fusspot on 13th October 2012
  • I cook cured loin and gammon in cider and save the stock to use (sparingly because it is sharp) in soups. I cannot guess what Nigella wants us to do with salty, piggy cola, unless it kills weeds.

    Posted by sausier's apprentice on 20th February 2012
  • So why do you say not to throw away the cooking liquid? What do you do with it?

    Posted by Krystina1107 on 24th December 2011
  • All very well and a highly rated recipe by my friends who have made it, but can anyone explain why you keep the cooking liquid? 

    Posted by ChilliGal on 21st December 2011
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