Bite Christmas ham
Photo by Tamara West
This year I thought it would be good to still have a "traditional" ham glaze but to also add a bit of crunchy texture with a za’atar-inspired spicy crust. The spicy ginger beer in the glaze keeps the ham moist as it roasts and adds lots of flavour as it evaporates and sticks to the fat while the glaze seeps down into the meat. All these tasty flavours are capped off with a fresh herb, spice and nut crust which is sprinkled over just before carving.
The base of this Christmas spice crust uses one of my favourite blends of Middle Eastern spices, to which I’ve added two special occasion festive nuts, pistachios and cashews, and some beautiful fresh herbs. Serve it up with some mustard oranges and chilli lime pineapple and you’ve got not too typical and not too traditional! Merry Christmas.
Mustard fruits (most commonly found in Italy) are superb when served with ham. This simple version of very slowly cooked "confit" oranges has a hot, sweet bite. They can be made in advance and kept in the fridge. They are best served at room temperature or lightly warmed.
This pineapple makes a unique, fresh, sweet and fiery accompaniment. The pineapple can be cut and marinated with lime zest and chilli the day before.
How to store your leftover ham: A ham likes to breathe. Loosely cover it with a clean tea towel, muslin, cheesecloth or ham bag, not plastic wrap. Store it above any raw products and in the coolest part of your fridge, allowing room around it for the air to circulate.
Ham and spice crust
|2 bottles||Ginger beer, 375ml each|
|½ cup||Liquid honey, mild|
|2 tsp||Ground coriander|
|1 Tbsp||Ground ginger|
|3 Tbsp||Mustard powder|
|1 Tbsp||Sumac powder|
|1 Tbsp||Sesame seeds|
|2 Tbsp||Ground coriander|
|1 Tbsp||Ground cumin|
|1 tsp||Freshly ground black pepper|
|1 tsp||Flaky sea salt|
|2 Tbsp||Pistachio nuts, toatsed and chopped|
|2 Tbsp||Toasted cashew nuts, chopped|
|1 Tbsp||Chopped oregano leaves, fresh|
|1 Tbsp||Fresh thyme, chopped|
Chilli lime pineapple
- Heat oven to 160C. Remove the skin from the ham as this will allow the fat to render while roasting. Use a small, sharp knife to cut the skin around the shank bone, then slowly peel back the skin and use your thumb to help ease the skin away from the fat, being careful not to pull off any fat.
- Score the fat about 3mm evenly all over, taking care not to cut too deep into the flesh. Score in both directions to form a criss-cross pattern. This will help the glaze to seep down into the meat. Place the ham in a large roasting pan.
- In a saucepan whisk together the ginger beer, honey, ginger, coriander and mustard powder. Bring to a simmer then pour over the ham and place in the oven. Baste every 10 minutes — use a ladle to scoop up the hot ginger beer glaze and gently pour it back over the entire ham, including the shank. Make sure you completely cover all of the ham, this will ensure a good tasty covering. Continue to roast and, most importantly, baste until completely sticky, golden and warmed through (1-1½ hours depending on size).
- Set aside to cool slightly, sprinkle over the Christmas spice crust and rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.
Mix all ingredients (from sumac) together except for the nuts and fresh herbs. The spices can be prepared and mixed together a few days in advance. Add in nuts and fresh herbs just before serving.
Mix the mustard and sugar together in a wide sauce pan then whisk in the water. Bring to the boil then add the oranges. Turn down to a simmer and cook very slowly until the oranges turn translucent. Add a little extra water if necessary
Chilli lime pineapple
Cut the skin off the pineapple, cut into wedges and remove the core. Rub the lime zest and chilli over the pineapple. Cook on a medium-hot barbecue, or under the grill, until golden then squeeze fresh lime juice over just before serving.