"Brandy and Coke is something of a national institution among a certain stratum (and age group!) of the South African population," comments my friend and fellow food blogger Jeanne Horak. "I would rather die of dehydration than order a brandy and Coke in a bar, but my father has had a brandy and Coke before dinner every Saturday night since I can remember."
Suiping of brandy and Coke reaches a peak just before rugby matches and during the December hols: you can be certain that, as we speak, South Africans are lounging around pools, braais, campsites and back yards knocking back Klippies (Klipdrift brandy) and Coke by the barrelful.
So what better combination, I thought, with which to glaze a Christmas gammon? Coca-Cola makes an excellent glazing liquid because it cooks to a dark sticky glaze, and is so sweet and spicily zingy (do you know that the top-secret Coke formula is believed to contain vanilla, cinnamon and citrus?).
Christmas Gammon Glazed with Brandy and Coke
For the gammon:
One 2.5 kg uncooked gammon, bone out, skin on
330 ml (1 can) ginger ale
330 ml (1 can) beer
2 whole star anise
3 bay leaves
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 thumb-length quill of cinnamon
a blade of mace (or a little grating of nutmeg)
15 ml (1 T) white peppercorns (black will do)
enough water to cover
For the glaze:
330 ml (1 can) Coca-Cola
20 ml (4 tsp) Dijon mustard
5 ml (1 t) hot English mustard powder
100 ml brown sugar
15 ml (1 T) lemon juice
30 ml (2 T) brandy (Klipdrift, if you want to be authentic)
Put all the ingredients for the gammon in a large saucepan and add just enough water to cover the gammon. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a lively simmer. Cook for 20 minutes per 500 g (for a 2.5 kg piece, 1 hour and 40 minutes), topping up with liquid now and then if necessary. Turn off the heat and leave the gammon in the liquid to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Pour the Coca-Cola into a saucepan, turn on the heat and allow to bubble briskly until the liquid is reduced by half. Whisk in the mustard, mustard powder and the sugar, turn up the heat and boil rapidly for two minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and brandy.
Fish the gammon out of the cooking liquid, pat dry and place in a roasting pan. Carefully peel away the rind (using a knife to ease it off, if necessary) and discard. Use the tip of a sharp knife, or a craft knife, score deep diagonal lines across the fat, first one way, and then the other, to form a diamond pattern. Press a clove into the middle of each diamond.
Pour the glaze over the gammon and place in the hot oven. Baste every five minutes, scooping the glaze off the bottom of the pan and trickling it over the the top of the gammon (it will thicken and reduce as time goes on). Roast until the glaze is dark and sticky. Remove from the oven, trickle any glaze left on the bottom of the pan over the gammon and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Or cool completely and enjoy it cold.
Serves 10 as a buffet dish.
PS The two photos above were taken on my new veranda, and in my lovely new kitchen in Hout Bay. I'm sorry there's been such a long silence, but now that I'm unpacked and settled in I look forward to diving into the kitchen and cooking up a storm. Print Friendly