A really good ham is very simple. It needs a long soak to remove the salt, a slow cook to break down the gelatine and make it juicy and a fast roast. A lot of people don't have anything to soak or cook a ham in, and I've had many a SOS in my Instagram DMs on Christmas eve asking for help. What I do is empty one of those clip lock storage boxes and give it a good clean before filling it with water and ice and leaving it overnight to soak. However, if you're really stuck fill up a sink before bed in the same way. Cooking there really is only one solution and that's to buy a 6/7 litre pan, but if you're really stuck, soak it for a further 12 hours, changing the water halfway through and then slow roast at 140°C for 3 hours under foil over a trivet of water so it steam roasts, before removing the foil and finishing with the glaze and hot roast stage!
Find the biggest pot you can in which the ham will fit.
Put the ham in the pot, pour in the water and top up if needed
so that the ham is covered.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, spices and herbs to the pan.
Slowly bring the liquid to the boil, removing any scum as it
appears until the surface appears clear.
Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to a fast simmer
and allow it to bubble away for 1¼ hours, topping up the water
level regularly to ensure the ham is fully covered at all
Once the ham is cooked, remove it from the pan very carefully
so as not to tear any of the meat. You may find this easier if you
let the ham cool a little in the cooking liquor, (keep this for
Then allow it to drain and cool in a colander for 10
Place the ham in a large roasting tin. Very carefully, carve
the skin away to reveal the thick layer of white fat - if you're
lucky it will peel away easily - then score the fat so you make
loads of slashes all over it, or crossways in both directions to
make little diamond shapes if you prefer.
Heat the oven to 240°C. Put all the glaze ingredients in a pan
and simmer until reduced to a syrupy glaze that will stick to the
Rub the glaze all over the ham and into the fat.
Roast for 20-25 minutes, until sticky and caramelized, basting
Leave the ham to rest for 15 minutes if you want to eat it
warm, or let it cool completely.
We have this with Dauphinoise, Parsley sauce and a bitter leaf