One of my close friends has just sent me a text to ask how I cook a gammon in the AGA.  She is a brilliant cook who I admire greatly.  Christmas is the perfect time to share recipes and pass them on so that they can be enjoyed by everyone.  It may be one of the few times of the year that we have the family and friends all together.  So we want to make it perfect.

Gammon is often on the menu at All Hallows.  It is a great all round dish that can be served at any time of the year and takes very little effort.

1 Place a trivet or upside down saucer in the bottom of a stock pot or use a large lidded saucepan that will hold your gammon easily and allow it to be totally submerged in the cooking liquor.

2 Some of my friends soak the gammon first but I tend to cover it with cold water and place it on the boiling plate (or conventional hob) and bring it to the boil quite quickly.

3 Meanwhile prepare your flavourings.  Wash and trim onions, leeks, carrots or celery  or a combination of theses.  Snip some herbs from the garden or pot outside the back door.  We would use either bay, chervil or parsley which is still growing in a sheltered spot, thyme and perhaps a little sage.  Some black peppercorns roughly crushed or seek out long pepper which is also perfect in your mulled wine.

4 Drain the water from the gammon and replace with white wine, apple juice or cider and then top with fresh water to cover.  Add your flavourings and bring back to the boil.

5 As soon as the gammon is up to temperature, transfer to the AGA simmering oven (with no lid).  Or reduce the temperature on your conventional hob and allow joint to gently cook.  Rest the lid on the top of the pan allowing a little steam to escape.

6 Once it is cooked, remove from the pan and save some of cooking liquor to make a parsley sauce (check for seasoning as it may be quite salty), transfer the gammon to a roasting tin and remove the string and skin.  Score with a sharp knife and stud with cloves if you like.  Mix a tablespoon of honey and marmalade together and spread this over the skin. Taking care not to dislodge the cloves. Preheat your conventional oven to 200 C Gas Mark 6 or place in the AGA roasting oven to brown, watch that it does not burn. Allow 10 – 20 minutes but check halfway through the time.

Cooking times –

This will depend greatly on the size and shape of your joint.  A meat thermometer will help you as you must ensure that the centre reaches above 75 C

As a guide you need to simmer for the following times*-

900g – 1.3kg (2-3lb) – 1 hour 15 minutes

1.8kg – 2.25kg (4 – 5lb) – 2 hours

2.7kg – 3kg (6-7 lb) – 2 hours 30 minutes

3.5kg – 4kg (8 – 9lb) – 3 hours 30 minutes

4.5kg – 5kg (10-11lb) – 4 hours 30 minutes

5.4kg – 6kg (12 -13lb) – 5 hours

6.3kg – 6.75kg (14-15lb) – 5 hours 30 minutes

7.25kg (16lb and over) – 6 hours

*Sincere thanks to Dawn Roads (AGA Consultant) for these guide times