The Christmas Gammon, is there anything more magical that brings so much joy with leftovers for days? Sneaking down in the middle of the night when hunger pangs strike and devouring a slice or two with a slither of a Christmas cheese and a generous dollop of a festive pickle.
Our Saddleback Gammon is the perfect addition to your Christmas table. Slow grown and traditionally cured we smoke ours over oak chips using our very own smoker here on the farm. Imparting woody tones and oaky notes that fill the house with festive aromas that induce belly rumbling.
The first step in selecting your gammon is deciding whether or not you would like a piece of smoked gammon or green (unsmoked). Our gammons are traditionally brine-cured in a salt and sugar mixture for about a week. Once they have been removed from the brine, we leave them to air dry for a further week. This sets up the joint nicely to give you a firm but yielding texture and intensifies the sweet-salty flavour.
Our gammons are then split into those who will enter the smoker and those who are ready to go as they are. We smoke our gammons on the farm using oak chips that are a waste product from the local sawmill just a few miles down the road. The smoking is light but penetrates through the whole joint and gives a rounded intensity to the flavour of the porcine meat. It simply is a question of your taste, both are equally as delicious and will make a wonderful feast.
You will then need to work out how many guests you are feeding. We recommend four to five portions per kilo of meat. However, I would always advise, as the ham is so delicious and makes the best leftovers, you go for more than you need. The gammon, once cooked and turned into ham survives well in the freezer. I'm a firm believer that if you are going to go to a lot of trouble to cook a dish, you should make enough for an army and savor the leftovers for a rainy day.
How to cook a gammon
Fill a large casserole dish with water and gently bring the gammon to the boil. Discard the water, rinse and pop the gammon back into the empty pan.
Pour in two bottles of Sandford Orchards Red Devon cider, this should just about cover the top of your gammon if it doesn’t simply top up with a little fresh water.
Take the ends off some leeks and apples and split them in half. Cut an onion in half and chop some celery into three chunks. Submerge in the pan, nestling the veg in neatly around the gammon. Sprinkle in a couple of star anise and cinnamon sticks.
Tie some fresh herbs together to make a pretty bouquet and add to the pan along with the gammon.
Bring the pot to the boil and turn the heat down to a jolly simmer. Cover partially with a lid and leave for a couple of hours, checking from time to time that it isn’t bubbling too fiercely or hasn’t stopped altogether.
After two hours cooking, check the ham for tenderness. The bottom should have darkened and look like it could come away easily.
Remove the gammon from the saucepan and pop into a roasting dish. At this moment remove the rind, score the fat and stud the gammon with cloves, orange peel and bay leaves.
Slather a good helping of one of our gloopy glazes over the top and pop the roasting dish into a hot preheated oven (190C) and bake for 15-20 minutes per kilo.
Glazing your gammon
At Christmas time, one of our favourite traditions is that of the ritual of glazing a ham. The loving preparation, the nostalgic aromas and bubbling golden goodness is simply a glorious thing. Years past have brought many variations and in time have altered into family recipes to love and to cherish, from the old classic, honey and mustard, to something a bit out of the ordinary such as our festive spiced apple glaze, there are so many delicious recipes to pour glorious glugs onto the ham.
We've made it super easy for you to turn your ham into something spectacular, with our range of indulgent glazes. Made in small batches, just like you would at home, with only the best ingredients, you can choose from; Super Sticky Honey Glaze, Marmalade & Whisky Glaze and Festive Spiced Bramley Apple.
Using your leftovers
If we're honest, let's face it, this is why we all cook a gammon. Leftover Gammon is a Christmas staple amongst most houses at this time of the year. Thick slices with fat on cushioned between soft floury rolls with a generous dollop of a chutney or cheese there are so many ways to use the leftovers for the days following Christmas.
Here are our favourite ways to use up yours...
Gammon & Sprout Pie
Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grab a dish in which to make your pie.
Slice a generous wedge of the gammon and cut into cubes about 1cm or so in size and arrange in the dish.
Gather a handful of leftover sprouts and slice thinly. Spread over the top of the ham.
In a pan make a roux and add a decent amount of grated leftover cheese into to make a really indulgent cheese sauce. Spread over the top of the ham and sprouts and leave to cool.
Take a pre-rolled puff pastry sheet and place onto the top of the pie dish. With your thumb and forefinger crimp along the edge to ensure a tight seal.
Then add a hole using a knife into the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape when cooking.
Glaze the top with some egg wash and pop into the oven for roughly 25 mins or until the pastry has become golden and puffed up.
This is the ultimate comfort food over the Christmas season. We enjoy making this when we have almost run down the leftovers from the fridge and pantry.
Simply, cut up the ham into thin matchstick slithers along with roughly chopped leftover roast parsnips, potatoes, stuffing, sprouts and whatever else takes your fancy.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan until really hot and then fry your mixture until crisped up and browned.
Crack an egg or two over the top and place under a grill for a couple of minutes to allow them to cook through.
Bread & Butter Pudding with Ham
Turn the oven up to 200C. Take a loaf of crusty bread and cut into 1cm slices. Lay the slices on an oven tray and bake for about 5, turn over and then cook for another 5 minutes on the other side. Slather over a thick layer of butter.
Grate an indulgent amount of cheese (we like to use Quicke's extra mature cheddar here) then tear about 500g of ham into decent sized chunks and place to one side.
Take a good sized dish and begin to layer the bread neatly into the bottom, covering with cheese, ham and a few sprigs of thyme as you go, until you have used up all your stash.
In a mixing bowl, mix together 3 egg yolks and one whole egg, about 250ml of rich double cream and 250ml of full fat milk, grate a little nutmeg into the liquid and lightly season with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Pour the mixture over the bread and grate a little extra cheese over the top to seal.
Turn the oven down to 180C, cover the top with foil and cook for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake off the top for about 15 minutes, until it is beautifully golden.