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A Glazed Christmas Ham makes an impressive centrepiece for your Christmas Eve dinner and is surprisingly easy to make but do set aside some time for it.
You can be sure of one thing at our family Christmas, there will usually be a Glazed Ham and if so there will always be leftover ham in the fridge right up until the New Year. Not only does it make a superb supper, hot out of the oven when the glaze is sweet and warm and the ham falling away from the knife, but it also pays dividends cold from the fridge when you can’t face any more turkey but still fancy a sandwich.
Table of contents
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Deliciously festive flavours.
- The ham is delicious hot or cold so ideal for serving leftovers the next day as part of your festive buffet.
- It really is a doddle to prepare which is essential when what you’re really doing in the kitchen is peeling potatoes, preparing veg, soaking bread for the bread sauce and brining turkey for the next day.
- The ham will sit happily in the stockpot with all its accoutrements simmering away for a few hours before you remove it, give it a final flourish of a glaze then stick it in the oven for 20 minutes.
To cook the ham
- Unsmoked gammon. This is a joint of raw ham. You could choose smoked gammon if you prefer a stronger smokier flavour.
- Apple juice. For sweetness
- Cider. For a punchy apple flavour.
- Aromatics. Onion, celery, fennel, garlic are used to flavour the stock.
- Herbs and spice. Fresh parsley and woody bay, star anise, fennel and black pepper.
For the glaze
- Whole cloves. To stud over the cooked ham
- Redcurrant jelly. For the sticky glaze. I have also used cranberry jelly if I have some to hand.
- English mustard powder. For rich flavour.
For full recipe instructions go to the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Initial boil. Place the ham in a large stockpot and cover with water then bring to a rolling boil. Remove the ham and pour out the water, giving the stockpot a rinse.
- Cook the ham in the stock. Place the ham back into the stockpot and add all the stock ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for three hours.
- Drain and score. Remove the ham from the stock, cut off the outer skin from the ham but leave the thick layer of fat. Score the fat in a diamond pattern and stud with whole cloves.
- Glaze and bake. Heat the ingredients for the glaze until runny then brush half of the glaze all over the ham. Bake the ham in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes before brushing over the rest of the glaze and baking for a final 10 minutes.
Tips and troubleshooting
- Boil your ham in water first. I recommend to give your ham an initial boil with just a stockpot full of cold water to wash off all the excess salt. Just drain the water off and rinse the stockpot before you begin the recipe proper. It was a very unfortunate incident a few years ago when the ham was deemed inedible after this initial stage was missed, even though the butcher had told me it didn’t need pre-boiling. Do it anyway, despite butcher instructions.
- Cover the ham completely. If your stock ingredients don’t quite cover the ham, top up with extra water.
- What to do with the ham stock. We have in the past saved the ham stock to make a risotto from which worked out very nicely. It has a very strong and sweet flavour though so if you do save it.
- Clove warning. The look of the ham studded with cloves is beautiful. However, in recent years as I’ve been serving the ham up to the children I have not actually studded the ham since the cloves were proving to be a bit of a hazard. Instead if I’m serving to children I add ¼ teaspoon ground cloves to the glaze before warming and I omit the whole cloves.
- We serve Glazed Ham up every year on Christmas Eve with this Spiced Roast Squash and Goats Cheese Salad.
- It’s also a lovely accompaniment to a resplendent cheeseboard and copious quantities of mince pies.
- We often eat the leftover as the festive days continue with some lovely Cauliflower Cheese. It’s a really comforting meal during the holidays.
This ham is delicious hot or cold. It is tradition in our house to make it on Christmas Eve and serve it that night for supper warm from the oven.
However, it is delicious cold too so you can make it the day before you want to serve it. Wrap up well in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days before you want to serve it.
How to freeze
You can freeze leftover slices of this Glazed Christmas Ham. Just wrap up well (double wrap if possible to avoid freezerbite) and store in slices for up to 2 months in the freezer. Allow to defrost completely overnight before serving.
More festive recipes you’ll love
- Boxing Day Ale Chutney
- The Best Homemade Coleslaw
- The Best Totally Creamy Leftover Turkey Curry
- Honey Chipotle Nut Bowl
- Spiced Braised Red Cabbage
- Cranberry Clementine Sauce
- Creamy and Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Gratin
- Easy Christmas Cranberry Pie
- Almond and Mincemeat Christmas Sponge Cake
- Gingerbread Ice Cream
I urge you to give this Glazed Christmas Ham a try. If you do then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating which helps others find the recipe on Google. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
Glazed Christmas Ham
- 4 kg unsmoked gammon
- 400 ml apple juice
- 500 ml cider
- 1 large onion - roughly chopped
- 2 sticks celery - roughly chopped
- 1 head fennel - roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - lightly crushed
- small bunch of parsley stalks
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 star anise
- 1 tablepooon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons cloves
- 150 g redcurrant jelly*
- 2 teaspoons English mustard powder
- Place the ham in a large stockpot and cover with water then bring to a rolling boil.
- Remove the ham and pour out the water, giving the stockpot a rinse.
- Place the ham back into the stockpot and add all the ingredients (except the ones for the glaze) Top up with water if your ham isn’t quite covered.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for three hours.
- Remove the ham, but do not discard the cooking liquid as it makes excellent stock for a later use*.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan assisted oven / gas mark 5.
- Remove the string from the ham. Cut away the very outer skin from the ham, leaving the thick layer of fat that lies beneath.
- Make a large diamond pattern into the fat with a very sharp knife, being sure not to pierce the meat. Then place a clove into each diamond.
- Heat the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan until runny then brush half of the glaze all over the ham.
- Place in the oven and bake the ham for 10 minutes.
- Remove the ham, brush over the rest of the glaze then place back in the oven for a final 10 minutes.
- Serve the ham hot or cold, being careful to pick out the cloves before eating.