“Planning a brilliant menu and preparing it beautifully doesn’t guarantee a recipe for success. It’s pointless giving painstaking thought to food, if you haven’t given food to thought. The truth is, people are the most important ingredient.” – Kathy Lette
This festive season I’ll be serving my family’s favourite maple glazed gammon with burgundy plum and orange sauce. Gammon remains one of the most popular roasts for large gatherings and celebrations. If you follow the cooking times, success is sure.
To start, the meat is simmered in a weak stock, which helps to keep it succulent and tender. Then it’s into the oven, slathered in a sticky maple and mustard glaze. The flavour is a well balanced – salty and sweet. This year, I’ve made a star anise and orange plum sauce. It’s completely d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s ! I serve the sauce on the side so that guests can help themselves. If you prefer, serve the glazed gammon alongside pan roasted apples for a fruity contrast.
One of the reasons I love making a gammon is for leftovers. These barbecued pulled-gammon buns are a win for post festive lunches. Here’s to a very Happy Christmas, filled with love, joy, peace and the extravagance of a home filled with the ones you love and who remain, your most valued treasure.
Maple glazed gammon with plum sauce
- 2 kg uncooked gammon
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, large dice
- 3 long stems celery, including the leaves, chopped
- 4 bay leaves, preferably fresh
- 8 cloves
- 10 peppercorns
- 30ml pure Canadian maple syrup
- 30ml low sodium soy sauce
- 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
- juice of half an orange
- 300g red plums, pitted and cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
- 2 whole star anise
- zest and juice of 1 whole orange
- salt and black pepper
- Place the gammon in a large, deep sided pot and cover completely with water. Add the chopped vegetables and all the aromatics. Bring the water up to the boil and then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cover partially with the lid and cook for 30 minutes per 500g of meat, which will be 2 hours, in this instance. Once the relevant cooking time is up, turn the heat off and allow the gammon to cool down in the stock.
- Remove the gammon from the soaking stock and snip off the binding string. Retain a cup of the stock water for later. Carefully, cut away the hard outer fat layer from the gammon and discard. Be sure to keep the soft inner fatty layer intact. With a smooth bladed knife, score the fat in a pattern of your choice. Stud the top with whole cloves.
- Preheat the oven to 200º C. Place all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and reduce until thick and syrupy. Brush the sticky glaze over the top of the gammon and lay the meat in the roasting tin. Pour 180ml of the reserved stock into the roasting pan. Roast uncovered for 40 minutes. Turn the oven onto grill and allow the top to caramelise until the fat is darkly scorched, but not burnt. A deep chestnut-brown is perfect.
- Remove the gammon from the roasting tin and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Reserve the pan juices for later.
- To make the plum sauce, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on a high heat until the plums are broken down and the liquid is reduced. Strain the plum compote through a sieve, pressing through all the delicious, soft, plummy goodness. Discard the zests and skins. Pour the plum sauce back into the saucepan, add the reserved pan juices and heat through.
- Serve the gammon with the plum sauce and caramelised orange halves.