Christmas Ham Recipe

This Christmas, like so many other people around the world, I am at home this year and not able to go see my family over the festive season. My family, who traditionally make a Christmas ham and turkey each year, always make Christmas food worth waiting for. Still wanting a bit of that tradition, I decided to make a ham.

Knowing absolutely nothing about ham roasting, I went on a research exercise. For the most useful articles and videos I found in my search, you can see the references below.

Most recipes are for a 3-4kg roast, mine is only 1.3kg since I am feeding two people this year. This recipe is based off my small ham, so if you are unsure how long to roast your ham for, take a look at Jamie Oliver’s roasting guide

To soak, or not to soak

My first conundrum after watching my family soak the ham year after year, was do I need to soak my ham and for how long?

On Nigella’s website, I found that in the UK (I’m in Ireland, so probably similar advice) the curing process is relatively mild, and that soaking would probably not be needed, but the best thing to do is check the label for the supplier instruction. Based on the videos I watched and the advice in Nigella’s article, soaking didn’t seem necessary on this basis, but I went with the Jamie Oliver’s recipe which did a quick soak before cooking.

  • Grab a bit pot to soak the ham in for an hour and a half
  • When the soaking is done, throw out the water

Boil the ham

  • Next step, in the same big pot, boil some water, put the ham in the pot, bring the water to the boil on a high heat on the stove
  • Once the water is boiling, decrease the heat and add in some carrots, celery, herbs, a tablespoon of lemon juice, garlic, pepper and a few bay leaves
  • The total boiling time for the ham is for 1 hour
  • Take a spoon and remove the foamy, floaty bits as necessary using a spoon
  • Once the boiling is done, take it off the heat and let it sit to cool for 30 minutes
  • When you’ve removed the ham and set it aside on a chopping board, you can strain the vegetables from the broth using a sieve and toss out the veggies and water (unless you want to keep the broth water for a stock)
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius

Bake the ham in the oven

  • Once the ham is boiled and cooled, take the skin off from the layer of fat, keeping as much of the fat on as possible
  • Lightly score the fat over the ham, allowing the oven to cook the fat quicker and allow for crisping
  • Pop the ham in the oven in a casserole dish or tray for 20 minutes to sizzle the fat at 190 degrees Celsius
  • Take the ham out of the oven, and in the tray or dish, use a spoon to gather the juices and spoon them over the ham
  • Dust the ham liberally with ground pepper and add some chopped rosemary
  • Take the glaze (I used Florrie’s Ham Glaze with cranberry and apple) to glaze the ham with a basting brush (you can use a whole range of ingredients for the glaze, one of the other nice ones I have seen is marmalade)
  • Add the glaze until it doesn’t freely run or melt off the ham (it should seep into the crisscrosses made on the ham)
  • Pop the ham in for 1 hour at 170 degrees Celsius in total, checking after 30 minutes to glaze the ham again with the basting brush from the juices in the tray/ dish
  • And then once the hour has passed, there you go! An amazing ham roast, which goes perfectly with some mash or roast potatoes!


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