In my house, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without ham. We watched Christmas with the Kranks last night (not the best Christmas movie), and I was more than a little horrified to see a tinned ham passing as a desirable part of Christmas festivities. Sorry, that just doesn’t cut it.
Most years we buy a whole leg, which, when properly looked after, will give us ham for Christmas lunch, and every lunch there after until almost new year. The NZ Pork website has all the tips for taking care of ham post Christmas Day.
The thing that really elevates a Christmas ham, aside from the sheer scale of the thing, is the glaze. A good glaze needs sugar of some description for caramelisation, acid for balance, and often spices of some kind. I have opted for a combination of honey, mustard, and lemon juice in the past, then studded the ham with cloves for a traditional look.
This year I’ve done a couple of things differently. Firstly, I bought a quarter ham. It’s more manageable, and since we’re heading away to a bunch of different places through January, we can make sure there’s none left by Boxing Day. Hence the photos without the giant pork leg.
Secondly, I’ve gone for a Middle Eastern-ish glaze. I haven’t added spice here, as I like the simplicity of the pomegranate molasses, but you could add a tablespoon of cumin, or try studding the top with whole 5 spice, which have the added advantage of looking really pretty.
I should mention I’m using an already cooked ham, so all I’m doing here is giving it a flavour and appearance boost. If you need to cook your ham, this post from the Otago Famers’ Market provides a couple of pre-glaze methods.
The volume of glaze I’ve provided here should be enough for a whole leg. Halve the amounts for a 1/2 ham, 1/4 amounts for a quarter, etc.
POMEGRANATE GLAZED HAM
1 whole ham, bone in
1 cup pomegranate molasses
1 cup brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
- Pre-heat oven to 180ºC
- Mix ingredients for glaze together and set aside
- Use a sharp knife to score the skin around the bone end of the ham
- Slide your fingers under the skin of the ham, gently working the skin, until it lifts away from the layer of fat surrounding the ham. Discard the skin.
- If the ham is overly fatty, trim some of the fat, but leave a good layer (about 1cm thick). This will keep the ham moist.
- Score the fat layer with a sharp knife. You can use a cross hatch pattern, or horizontal lines about 5mm apart, which I prefer.
- Place the ham in a baking dish lined with baking paper.
- Brush liberally with glaze (there will be quite a bit left over)
- Place the ham in the oven, and bake, glazing every 15 minutes or so, for approximately 1 hour, or until the glaze is very brown and caramelised. make sure it doesn’t burn!
- Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before refrigeration.