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Festive gammon with slices cut on a serving plate

Festive gammon

A star rating of 4.6 out of 5.13 ratingsRate
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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • Plus 24 hrs brining
  • A challenge
  • Serves 16 - 20

A traditional ham recipe that's perfect for any celebration, especially at Christmas. The gammon needs brining overnight, but the results are well worth it

Nutrition: per serving


For the ham and glaze

  • 1 unsmoked boneless gammon , weighing about 5kg
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 750g demerara sugar
  • 300g sea salt flakes
  • 250g Dijon mustard

For the stock

  • 6 carrots , peeled
  • 2 heads celery , broken into sticks
  • 3 onions , halved
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 head garlic , unpeeled and halved
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 100ml white wine vinegar


  • STEP 1

    For the brining, take all the spices for the glaze and toast them in a frying pan until they begin to release their fragrance. Grind using a pestle and mortar, then tip into a food processor with the sugar and blitz everything together to make a spice mix. Tip two-thirds of the mix (reserving the rest in a sealed plastic container) into a large pan with the salt and 5 litres of water and bring to the boil, then turn off the heat. When the mix has cooled, pour it over the ham and leave in the fridge to brine for 24 hrs.

  • STEP 2

    After 24 hrs, wash off the brine. Place the ham in a large pan with the stock veg, herbs and vinegar. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 3 hrs, topping up with water as necessary. Turn off the heat and leave the ham to cool in the stock.

  • STEP 3

    Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Remove the ham from the stock and cut away the top layer of fat and skin. Score the fat in a criss-cross and brush with the mustard, then pack on the reserved spiced sugar. Roast for 35-40 mins until the glaze has completely caramelised and become sticky. Allow the ham to rest for at least 10 mins before carving.


This recipe is for an uncooked, unsmoked joint often known as green gammon. Brining it in spiced water draws out the excess water, while keeping essential moisture in. The ground spices will also seep in, gently flavouring the meat.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2005


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A star rating of 4.6 out of 5.13 ratings

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