Monday, 6 December 2010

Bringing home the Christmas Bacon...

Christmas doesn’t need to be a chore; keeping the flavours simple and with a little bit of planning you can breeze through the cooking and actually enjoy a bit of the day as well.  Actually if you are like me the cooking is the fun part so maybe ignore that last bit...

Turkey, no matter how good a cook you think you are, is still a Turkey at the end of the day...  That dull dry white flesh of the average bird just doesn’t stand a chance against the delicious pink flesh and soft white fat of a good bit of pig.  So Bacon or Ham is the only way forward and what you can’t eat on the day just gets better sat in the Fridge.

I’m a boiled ham guy; it’s just what I’ve been brought up with.  I’ve got nothing against those who roast their ham it’s just not going to happen under my roof...

Whether you use Bacon or Ham the rule of thumb remains the same, it will need about 30 minutes of cooking per 500 grams.  If you are not sure just ask your butcher or look on the packaging if you’ve gone to a supermarket.

You’ll need to bring it to the boil from cold, discard the water and then top it up with fresh.  This brings out the extra salt from the meat and while it won’t kill you the scum that forms on top just isn’t pleasant so get rid!

Throw in some stock veg, a bouquet garni and some peppercorns.  Keep topping up the water from time to time to ensure the meat is covered by water.  When you’ve cooked your Ham or Bacon take it out of the water and let rest a minute or two.

It just needs to relax and allow the skin to cool.  Score the skin with a sharp knife and layer on a glaze to make the Skin and fat even more luscious.  I've used some pouring honey so you can see what’s going on.

Simply brush warmed honey on top of the fat and put into the hot oven to make it caramelise.  You can use Brown Sugar or Marmalade, mix in some Mustard or Soya Sauce it all works well with Bacon.

Put the whole thing in a hot oven, top up the glaze every 20 minutes or so... Maybe pull off a little treat for yourself if the temptation gets too much!  Once you’ve got a deeply caramelised, crisp and sticky skin take it out.

I cannot stress this too much, let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes before you start to carve.  Enjoy!

8 comments:

  1. Love a Christmas ham,have you tried Pease pudding with it?Or is that too Northern?

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  2. Love Pease Pudding, I do them fairly regular. I lived in the North for ten years so I love my stodge now :D

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  3. I've never understood turkey for Christmas. Completely outside of taste it's not remotely traditional or native to this country yet people say they have to have turkey, it's traditional.

    My dad is also a believer so every year is huge rib of beef, tend to have a ham on the side too. I'm happy with it boiled or baked.

    My mum is one of the brainwashed masses though so Christmas at her place involves the "traditional" turkey, although my step-dad like to mix things up so he'll cook it with indirect heat on the barbecue.

    Made pease pudding for the first time recently and was a big fan.

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  4. Absolutely love the sound of this. We're going to make one for Christmas. Thank you!

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  5. We don't usually bother with glazes but I think I'll insist this year.

    We always get bone-in ham - the stock from the bone makes the most awesome ham and lentil soup... arguably one of my favourite parts of christmas.

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  6. Definitely glaze, it adds a whole new dimension to the fat. Even more so when cold the fat and skin can be eaten like sweets albeit chewy meaty sweeties!

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  7. @pavel I'm with you, definately glaze. I go silly with 3 types of mustard, honey and a bit of olive oil but it works really well. Before scoring though I remove just the outer layer of skin on the fat, it comes off real easy and your left with just the milky white good stuff which absorbs the glaze better when crisped up from the oven. I don't think I can wait till next boxing day.

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