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Slow-Cooked Black Treacle Ham

by . Featured in SIMPLY NIGELLA
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Introduction

Nothing will ever take the place of my Ham in Coca-Cola from Bites – in my heart or on my table – but this slow-baked ham is a revelation of a different sort. The meat is astonishingly tender and carves into thin slices with ease; there is also very little shrinkage, and no wrangling with large joints of meat in boiling liquid.

I always like a ham for the holidays - hot, it is spectacular, and it is helpful, after, to have cold ham to bring out alongside cold turkey (and for general sandwich duty), and this is the way to cook it to make your life easier. And if the 12–24 hours’ cooking doesn’t suit you, you can cook it for 5 hours in a 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/350ºF oven instead, before proceeding with the glaze.

The juices that collect from the first step of cooking are gorgeously flavoured, but very intense. I pour a little of them over the cut slices of meat, but go sparingly.

Nothing will ever take the place of my Ham in Coca-Cola from Bites – in my heart or on my table – but this slow-baked ham is a revelation of a different sort. The meat is astonishingly tender and carves into thin slices with ease; there is also very little shrinkage, and no wrangling with large joints of meat in boiling liquid.

I always like a ham for the holidays - hot, it is spectacular, and it is helpful, after, to have cold ham to bring out alongside cold turkey (and for general sandwich duty), and this is the way to cook it to make your life easier. And if the 12–24 hours’ cooking doesn’t suit you, you can cook it for 5 hours in a 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/350ºF oven instead, before proceeding with the glaze.

The juices that collect from the first step of cooking are gorgeously flavoured, but very intense. I pour a little of them over the cut slices of meat, but go sparingly.

Slow-Cooked Black Treacle Ham
Photo by Keiko Oikawa

Ingredients

Serves: 10-12 (with leftovers)

Metric Cups

For the Joint

  • 3½ kilograms joint boneless gammon (rind on)
  • 150 grams black treacle

For the Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 4 tablespoons black treacle
  • 4 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

For the Joint

  • 7½ pounds joint boneless gammon (rind on)
  • ½ cup black molasses

For the Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • ¼ cup black molasses
  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C/230°C Fan/gas mark 9/450ºF, and let your gammon come to room temperature.
  2. Line a large roasting tin with a layer of foil, and then sit a wire rack on top of this foil. Tear off a large piece of foil (big enough to wrap around the ham) and place this over the rack on the roasting tin. Tear off a second, large piece of foil and place on top, but in the opposite way to the first, so you have 4 corners of foil ready to wrap your ham in. Sit the gammon on the foil and then pour the black treacle over it, straight onto the rind, letting it run down both sides. Don’t worry too much about spreading it over the ham, as once it’s in the heat of the oven, it will coat the ham well enough.
  3. Now lift up the sides and ends of the first layer of foil and make a seal at the top, leaving some room around the gammon, then seal the ends. Then take up the other piece of foil and do the same: you are trying to create a good seal around the gammon, so pinch together any open gaps that remain. Finally, tear off another piece of foil and put over the top of the whole parcel, making sure it’s well sealed.
  4. Put carefully into the oven and let it cook for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 100°C/80°C Fan/gas mark ¼/200°F and leave for a further 12–24 hours.
  5. The following day, take the gammon out of the oven and open up the foil seal. It will have made some liquid, which you can reserve to moisten the carved meat later. Carefully lift the gammon out onto a board, snip and remove the string, and peel off the rind to leave a good layer of fat.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ºF. Using a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern in the fat layer, drawing lines one way and then the opposite way, about 2cm/¾-inch apart.
  7. Stud the centre of each diamond with a clove, then mix together the black treacle, demerara sugar and Dijon mustard in a bowl and spread over the fat on the ham. It will dribble off a bit, so just spoon it back over the gammon before putting back in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the glaze will be burnished and blistered in the heat. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a board. Let it rest for 10–20minutes before carving into thin slices.
  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C/230°C Fan/gas mark 9/450ºF, and let your gammon come to room temperature.
  2. Line a large roasting tin with a layer of foil, and then sit a wire rack on top of this foil. Tear off a large piece of foil (big enough to wrap around the ham) and place this over the rack on the roasting tin. Tear off a second, large piece of foil and place on top, but in the opposite way to the first, so you have 4 corners of foil ready to wrap your ham in. Sit the gammon on the foil and then pour the black molasses over it, straight onto the rind, letting it run down both sides. Don’t worry too much about spreading it over the ham, as once it’s in the heat of the oven, it will coat the ham well enough.
  3. Now lift up the sides and ends of the first layer of foil and make a seal at the top, leaving some room around the gammon, then seal the ends. Then take up the other piece of foil and do the same: you are trying to create a good seal around the gammon, so pinch together any open gaps that remain. Finally, tear off another piece of foil and put over the top of the whole parcel, making sure it’s well sealed.
  4. Put carefully into the oven and let it cook for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 100°C/80°C Fan/gas mark ¼/200°F and leave for a further 12–24 hours.
  5. The following day, take the gammon out of the oven and open up the foil seal. It will have made some liquid, which you can reserve to moisten the carved meat later. Carefully lift the gammon out onto a board, snip and remove the string, and peel off the rind to leave a good layer of fat.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ºF. Using a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern in the fat layer, drawing lines one way and then the opposite way, about 2cm/¾-inch apart.
  7. Stud the centre of each diamond with a clove, then mix together the black molasses, turbinado sugar and Dijon mustard in a bowl and spread over the fat on the ham. It will dribble off a bit, so just spoon it back over the gammon before putting back in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the glaze will be burnished and blistered in the heat. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a board. Let it rest for 10–20minutes before carving into thin slices.

Additional Information

NOTE FOR THE US: Fully cooked hams are more common in the US and if you use one of these, then try to choose one with the rind still on and not spiral cut. Smear the rind of the ham with 2 tablespoons of molasses then wrap it in a baggy aluminum foil package with tightly sealed edges. Sit it in a roasting pan and reheat following the producer’s instructions for oven temperature and time. When the ham has heated through uncover it and reserve juices and use sparingly to moisten ham once sliced. Carefully remove the rind, leaving a good layer of fat, then follow the instructions for glazing the ham.

STORE NOTE: Cool leftovers as quickly as possible, then cover (or wrap tightly in foil) and refrigerate within 2 hours of making. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.

FREEZE NOTE: Freeze in an airtight container (or wrapped in foil, and then put in a resealable bag) for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in fridge before using.

NOTE FOR THE US: Fully cooked hams are more common in the US and if you use one of these, then try to choose one with the rind still on and not spiral cut. Smear the rind of the ham with 2 tablespoons of molasses then wrap it in a baggy aluminum foil package with tightly sealed edges. Sit it in a roasting pan and reheat following the producer’s instructions for oven temperature and time. When the ham has heated through uncover it and reserve juices and use sparingly to moisten ham once sliced. Carefully remove the rind, leaving a good layer of fat, then follow the instructions for glazing the ham.

STORE NOTE: Cool leftovers as quickly as possible, then cover (or wrap tightly in foil) and refrigerate within 2 hours of making. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.

FREEZE NOTE: Freeze in an airtight container (or wrapped in foil, and then put in a resealable bag) for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in fridge before using.

Tell us what you think

What 12 Others have said

  • I did a version of this with a small spiral cut ham on Christmas night. I warmed the ham in a 350°f oven covered with foil (did not use the high heat as it was fully cooked). I did a similar glaze with dark molasses US version of trecle) without the mustard (family doesn't like) and cooked the ham 15 min more, basting it 2 times with the juices and glaze from the bottom of the pan. DELICIOUS!!! My go to from now on. Easy Peasy. Family raved!!!

    Posted by Lori-girl on 27th December 2018
  • Done! Just come out of the oven. Delicious!

    Posted by saintspenny on 24th December 2018
  • This is amazing, best ham I've ever tasted.. Nigella you've converted me from dry boiled ham to this; it only took 35 years! Delicious on another level.

    Posted by Bamma on 17th December 2018
  • I’m not a meat eater but family said it was lovely.

    Posted by Sandwiches71 on 27th December 2017
  • Oh so yummy! And makes awesome leftovers! Many thanks, Nigella! ❄️

    Posted by RobyH on 14th December 2017
  • Definitely trying this at Christmas

    Posted by karenmac28 on 2nd December 2017
  • Tried this recipe over Christmas. After 10 hours, checked the ham only to find it well over cooked. Nothing wrong with the recipe - on checking the temperature of my gas oven at its lowest setting marked "S", with an oven thermometer, I found the temperature was well over 100C. I recommend that everyone should check their ovens if cooking long and slow. Flavour was excellent but meat was father dry. Definitely try again with suitable oven.

    Posted by Rich2311 on 30th December 2015
  • We just had this for dinner having had it in the oven since last night, it was absolutely delicious! We also had the suggested accompaniment of potato and pepper bake which was very tasty. Ours was a bigger ham than the recipe so I gave it an hour at the high temperature and turned up to 180 for the last couple of hours. So lots of leftovers which will be delicious cold!

    Posted by KathW on 26th December 2015
  • This was my first attempt and after 15 hours it turned as the best ham ever!

    Posted by Rich875 on 27th December 2015
  • I used a smoked ham and cooked it overnight and for a total of 14 hours. It was absolutely delicious and soft and tender without being at all stringy. As promised it cuts beautifully. Slow -but easy!

    Posted by DeliaD on 22nd December 2015
  • Oh. My. God! We make hams every year to give as gifts as part of a home made hamper to our friends and family. This year we've decided to use this recipe. The results are better than any other recipe we have used. Slow cooking the ham over night leaves the meat moist and tender and practically falling apart. The black treacle glaze is rich and smoky and just delicious. Definitely recommend this - minimum effort, maximum impact!

    Posted by daniellejfortier on 22nd December 2015
  • Well, I cooked this last night. Now I had to change it a bit as my Mum is diabetic so I used fresh apple juice and pulp instead of treacle. I gave it 14 hours. It didn't shrink at all and all the apple bits turned into a thick dark treacly goo which was perfect to coat the fat of the ham before its final bake. This baby has come out burnished and blackened and absolutely gorgeous. I am NEVER using another ham recipe. Ever.

    Posted by HappyFatty on 24th December 2015
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