Merry Christmas - Ham it up!
Christmas Eve, it's my favourite day. It's all about our Merry Mango Madness 'Daiquiris', a sticky glazed BBQ ham and throw in a gathering of our family and neighbourhood friends and we have the perfect start to our Christmas celebrations.
It's a casual affair and it has to be easy as it's a prelude to the big Christmas Day feast, and indeed we have that part sorted. Firstly the Merry Mango Madness (aka our version of Mango Daiquiris) which are a must, get us well into the spirit and ready to let our hair down. I've spoken about them before and it's really just a matter of using what you might have tucked away in the back of the cupboard.
But for some instant WOW factor, especially when you have a crowd to feed, a sticky glazed leg ham done on the BBQ is super easy and has proven to be an absolute favourite. We usually have around 30 people at our gathering and serve a few salads, some roasted chat potatoes, bread rolls and a few mustards and chutneys and it's always a winner. The last couple of years we have even done paper plates as well, which makes the clean up even easier.
My niece Hannah and I usually come up with a glaze each year and we always have fun preparing and tweaking it like Masterchef's while the BBQ begins to warm. The end result is always a delight. There are so many variations out there to try so you cant really go wrong. My main tip would be more about taking care in prepping the ham by making sure the cuts are as even as possible so it looks pretty once the glaze starts to caramelise and char. Be sure to check out the other tips below to help make your ham a certain showstopper.
This is our 'Maple and Orange' version from last year, straight off the BBQ before it was 'tizzied' up for the table. Note a few missing cubes... the kitchen 'fairies' always hang around when good food is about and things do go missing!!!
Maple and Orange Glazed Leg Ham
1 cooked leg ham on the bone
cloves for studding
1 large roasting pan (or 2 foil tins large enough to fit the ham - see tips)
1 cup marmalade
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
To prepare the glaze
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until needed.
To prepare the ham
Preheat the oven or BBQ to 180˙C.
Remove the thick outer layer of skin by gently running your fingers along the rind to simply peel it off. You will be left with a layer of fat about 1cm thick.
Using a sharp knife gently score the fat of the ham in a diagonal pattern (about 1cm apart) trying not to cut right through to the meat. Stud the ham by placing one clove in each square.
Place the ham into your roasting pan and using a brush (or rosemary brush see tip), brush the glaze onto the ham. Reserve remaining glaze. Place ham into oven or onto BBQ and continue to base the ham every 20 mins or so, for 90 mins or until it's golden and caramelised. Slice and serve.
Here are is another variation with a Ginger Marmalade Glaze. It gives you some great ideas on how to plate it too.
Thanks to our 'triple tested' friends at Australian Women's Weekly!
We cook our ham on our BBQ (it's usually too big for my oven) which we set up near our guests so they can look at it each time we glaze it. Gives a bit of theatre to the event and smells beautiful when cooking.
I buy 2 foil disposable roasting pans which I sit inside each other to give them strength for when lifting the ham in and out of the oven or BBQ. In more recent years we have managed to buy disposable trays which come with a wire rack which extends up the sides to make two handles, which helps make the lifting easier. Certainly seek these out of you can as it's almost impossible (and a bit dangerous) to lift a large sticky hot leg of ham out of the oven when it's in a flimsy disposable tray.
For an extra bit of yum, try making a basting brush out of woody herbs (rosemary, bay leaves etc) buy tying them together with cooking string. This will give you even more flavour for your ham.
I like to slice the ham in such a way so as each slice gets a piece of the glazed edge. Lay your ham is on the platter, then make one horizontal cut along the bone (starting at the opposite end to the hock - use the hock as your handle!). Once I have cut in about 1/4 of the way, I then slice directly downwards (vertically) to the bone which will give everyone the chance to enjoy an edge of yummy glaze.
You can decorate the hock end of the ham (which will become your handle for when slicing) by wrapping it in a piece of either muslin cloth or baking paper then top with some rosemary and bay leaf branches (or any nice looking greenery) and secure with kitchen twine.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope to see you in the New Year sometime to cook up a storm and more importantly, enjoy some great food and have many laughs along the way. Be safe and be merry!
LOVE YOUR FOOD MOMENTS... ENYOY!
All the Best
Meryl and the Relish Cooking School Team