Monday 13 December 2010

Christmas Gammon Glazed with Brandy and Coke

I've recently updated, retested and rephotographed this recipe - one of the most popular on my blog  - for the fourth issue of Crush Online!, and here it is again in all its gammony glory.

Christmas Gammon Glazed with Brandy and Coke.

It seems to me that there is a glut of pork in South Africa right now, as the hams and gammons I've seen in the shops are astonishingly inexpensive. I bought a 2.6kg gammon last week for just over a hundred rands, and very good it was too. Scroll to the end of this post, and I'll give you some great tips for stretching a gammon like this over two - or even three - meals.

Brandy and Coke is one of South Africa’s favourite tipples, particularly during the festive season, so what a lekker combination, I thought, with which to glaze a Christmas gammon. Coca-Cola makes an excellent glazing liquid because it cooks to a delicious dark stickiness, being so sweet and spicy (do you know that the top-secret formula is believed to contain vanilla, cinnamon, coriander and citrus fruit?).

In this recipe, a whole gammon is simmered in a beery liquid containing all the usual Christmassy spices, plus some whole star anise, which gives the meat a delicate aniseed flavour. If you don’t like aniseed, leave the star anise out. This is excellent served warm with boiled new potatoes and a green salad, or cold with mustard, pickles, home-made mayonnaise and hunks of crusty bread.

Whether you use a gammon with a bone in or one without is your choice, but please note that the cooking times differ (see recipe). Don’t throw the cooking liquid out: it's wonderfully flavoursome and aromatic, and makes an excellent stock for  soups and stews (see my notes at the bottom of this page).

 Sticky, sweet and so easy to make.

Christmas Gammon Glazed with Brandy and Coke

For the gammon:
a large gammon, weighing 2.5 to 3 kg, bone in or out
one can (330 ml) ginger ale
one bottle (330 ml) of your favourite beer
2 whole star anise
3 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 thumb-length quill of cinnamon
a large blade of mace (or a quarter of a nutmeg, grated)
1 tsp (5 ml) whole black peppercorns
water, to cover
whole cloves, to stud

For the glaze:
one can (330 ml) Coca-Cola
4 tsp (20 ml) Dijon mustard
1 tsp (5 ml) hot English mustard powder
100 ml brown sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) good instant coffee
1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbsp (45 ml) brandy (Klipdrift, if you want to be authentic)

Weigh your piece of gammon, or make a note of the weight printed on the label. Put the gammon, ginger ale, beer, star anise, bay leaves, cloves, onion, cinnamon, mace and peppercorns into a large, deep pot. Add enough water just to cover the gammon. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat so that the gammon cooks at a slow simmer. Partially cover the pot with a tilted lid. If you’re using a boneless gammon, cook the meat for 30-40 minutes per kilogram. If you’re using a gammon with a large bone, cook it for 45-55 minutes per kilogram, or according to the instructions on the wrapping. Check the pot now and then, and top up with more water if necessary.

Christmas Gammon Glazed with Brandy and Coke
Poaching the gammon in a rich, aromatic stock.
Turn off the heat and leave the gammon in the liquid to cool completely. (It’s a good idea to boil the gammon the day before, and to leave it overnight to cool.)

Preheat the oven to its hottest setting (220-240 ºC.) Pour the Coca-Cola into a large, fairly shallow pan (a wok is ideal), turn on the heat and bubble briskly until the liquid has reduced by half. Whisk in the Dijon mustard, the mustard powder, the sugar and the coffee powder. Turn up the heat and boil fast, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced and is slightly syrupy. At this stage, you should be left with about 200 ml of liquid. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and brandy.

Fish the gammon out of its cooking liquid, pat quite dry and place in a roasting pan. Carefully peel away the rind and discard. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the gammon in a diamond pattern. Stud the gammon with whole cloves.

Pour the glaze over the gammon and place the roasting pan in a blazing hot oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes (how long this takes will depend on the heat of your oven), basting the meat every four to five minutes by scooping the glaze off the bottom of the pan and trickling it all over the top and sides. The glaze will thicken and reduce as time goes by: watch it like a hawk, as it burns easily.

When the gammon has a mahogany-brown sticky crust, and there is just a little glaze left in the bottom of the pan, remove it from the oven. Using a pastry brush, paint any remaining glaze over the top and sides of the gammon. Set aside to rest for ten minutes, then serve hot with boiled new potatoes and a green salad. If you’re serving this cold, store it, uncovered, in the fridge, for up to four hours.

Serves 8-10 as part of a festive feast

A Gammony Meal on a Shoestring

As I mentioned above, gammons are very inexpensive at the moment, so here's a way of stretching a large gammon over two meals. This will serve six people for two meals, or more if you have an enormous gammon. And you might have some left over for sandwiches!

Boiled Gammon with Root Vegetables and Parsleyed Béchamel Sauce
Boil the gammon as described above, but omit the star anise and the ginger ale. Half an hour before the end of the cooking time, add a selection of vegetables to the pot: halved or quartered potatoes in their skins, thickly sliced carrots, parsnips and turnips, and some peeled, quartered onions.

In the meantime, make a parsley sauce (recipe below).  Remove the gammon from the pot, pull off the rind and discard. Scrape away most of the white fat with a knife. Slice some of the hot gammon and place it on a large, deep platter. Surround the gammon with the cooked vegetables, and ladle over a little hot stock. Serve immediately, and pass the parsley sauce around in a jug.

Hearty Soup with Tomatoes, Lentils and Gammon
Put the remains of the gammon in the fridge.  Strain the stock into a large bowl and refrigerate.

The next day, remove any fat that's congealed on top of the stock.  In a separate, large pot, fry chopped carrots, onions and celery in a little olive oil, until softened. Add the cold stock, two bay leaves, a large sprig of thyme, two cloves of crushed garlic, two tins of peeled, chopped tomatoes, and a large handful each of brown and split red lentils.  Simmer for an hour. At this point, you can whizz the soup a little with a stick blender, or you can leave it chunky. If the mixture seems very thick, thin it down with water

Now season the soup with herbs, spices and condiments of your choice: a little cumin and paprika, perhaps, some pungent dried oregano, chilli flakes, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and so on.  Twenty minutes before you're going to serve it, dice the remaining gammon and add it to the pot. (Some quartered, boiled potatoes will stretch the meal even further.) Season generously with salt and pepper and serve hot, with a scattering of chopped fresh parsley, a dollop of cold natural yoghurt and some crusty bread.

Parsleyed Béchamel Sauce
3 T (45 ml) butter
3 T (45 ml) flour
350 ml cold milk
350 ml hot ham stock
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and white pepper

Put the flour and the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Using a whisk, stir briskly until the butter melts, and allow to cook for two minutes. Now tip in a cup or so of the cold milk, whisking well as you pour. When the mixture begins to thicken, add the remaining milk and the ham stock, turn up the heat to its fullest setting, and continue whisking until the sauce has thickened and come to the boil. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and allow it to bubble gently for another two minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the mustard, the lemon juce and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 700 ml
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Pilar - Lechuza said...

I've been looking for recipes with pork for about a few days now and I just fell in love with this gammon. Gonna bake it for my family this Christmas.
regards from Spain

Sam said...

Gosh you are so clever to use coke to glaze a gammon. The other flavour note in coke is cherry, so this all makes perfect sense to me. This is defs the way I am going to do my next one.

Jane-Anne said...

Thank you very much for your comment Pilar, and for visiting my blog. Please let me know how the ham turns out.

Sam - cherry! Of course!

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

LOL - I love it! Polisiekoffie gammon ;o) Seriously, Coke makes a great sticky basting liquid and I am so glad comebody else keeps the gammon cooking liquid - it's a fantastic base for soups & you can freeze it in portions!

Adele said...

What a wonderful post, and recipe! Thank you so much. I've been wanting to bring a bit more of South Africa to our very Australian Christmas, and this is going to be it. Straight to the desktop.

Louise said...

You've totally inspired me. I was at Woolies yesterday and bought gammon. Prepped it last night. Tonight I'm having friends for dinner and hope to impress.

Is it possible to make the glaze a few hours in advance and then reheat it to avoid too much cooking once my friends have arrived or do you think it will get too sticky?

Wish me luck! I'll try to remember to take pics although something tells me that it is unlikely to be as beautifully styled as yours.

Jane-Anne said...

Jeanne: 'Polisiekoffie'? I've never heard that one before. What a lovely name for brandy and coke!

Adele - thank you! Please let me know how it turns out.

Louise - Thanks for the comments. You can certainly make the glaze in advance. If it seems a bit sticky, reheat it gently for a few minutes. Good luck and remember to take the photographs!

D1nx said...

I sometimes use Coke when roasting a Scotch Fillet or Brisket... also use Ginger Ale with the Brisket... divine!

Popped in to wish you a wonderful Christmas - blessings to you and your family JA. Hugs, Di

Zoe B said...

I had a craving to do the traditional this Christmas (which was gammon, just like my grandfather's), so I found your recipe. When my parents came to dinner, they raved and said this was even better than my grandfathers - but DON'T tell him! We really enjoyed it!

Jane-Anne said...

Thank you very much for that comment Zoe: you have made my day! I won't tell grandpa!

Dinx - thank you, and I hope you had a great Christmas too.

Deri-Anne said...

Am a gravy nut - how should I prepare a gravy for this? We gonna do roast potatoes etc with the gammon so neeeed gravy!

Deri-Anne said...

And where would I find a blade of mace? The only nutmeg I've ever seen is the dried nutmeg in a bottle?

Jane-Anne said...

Hi Deri Anne!

I wouldn't serve this with a gravy, but rather with a cold potato salad and so on, but there's no reason why you shouldn't, if that is what you fancy!

You can't make a gravy using the pan drippings because they are very sweet and quite sticky, but you could make a separate onion gravy. Slice some onions and brown them very slowly in a mixture of butter and olive oil. When they are soft and sticky, sprinkle them with a few tablespoons of cake flour and cook gently for a few minutes. Now whisk in some of the liquid you cooked the gammon in, plus a glass of white wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. If the gravy is too thick, add more liquid. If it is too thin, let it bubble until reduced and thickened. Season with salt and black pepper.

Mace is the lacy outer covering of a whole nutmeg. If you can't find it, or whole nutmeg (available in good spice shops), use a little ground nutmeg instead.

Deri-Anne said...

Oh wow that sounds amazing! I am a junior chef at age almost 40.its my new hobby so i ask lots of questions.thanks so going to have to make this ahead of time to make sure I get it right.last Xmas I made Malva pudding that was over cooked & well, that's putting it mildly.all the little individual puddings were burnt.everyone politely ate them as it was the only dessert!not taking a chance on my enthusiasm again this year.

Jane-Anne said...

Thanks for the comment Deri-Anne. Good luck with your chef's career!

Riette said...

This looks totally devine... Can I make this upfront and freeze it?

Jane-Anne said...

Hi Riette. Thanks. I have never tried freezing a gammon, so I can't say for sure. But I don't see any reason why not. I would not glaze it before freezing it, though. Make the glaze separately, freeze it in a blikkie, then defrost it and use it to glazed the defrosted gammon.

Jessica said...

I made this recipe last night, it was amaaaaazing! Although, instead of roasting the gammon in the oven, I finished it off in a Weber. The indirect heat of the Weber worked well as the glaze didn't burn so easily.

Everybody loved it and I had to hide a slice away for my lunch, otherwise it would have been eaten too!

Thank you very much for a fantastic recipe!

Jane-Anne said...

Wow Jessica, thank you so much! Now I feel like eating gammon again. I think I'll buy one from the mountain of left-over ones in my local supermarket.

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