RECIPE | MIKE MCENEARNEY
November 20, 2017
INGREDIENTS & EQUIPMENT
1 leg of ham (about 4 kg bone in, or buy an ‘easy-carve’ ham, which has the femur and hip bone removed)
60 g English mustard, or 1 tablespoon English mustard powder
55 g soft brown sugar
A water sprayer
Place the ham on a board, skin side up. Using your fingertips or a small knife, prise the skin away from the fat, to separate it from the flesh, then fully peel the skin back.
Take an educated look at the ham, searching for the very fatty pieces and trim it so there is about a centimetre of fat covering the leg. Then score the fat into a lattice or diamond pattern just down to the meat, making sure not to penetrate into the flesh. Place a clove at the intersection of every diamond, pushing the cloves in firmly so they’re secure. (These will perfume the flesh as they warm in the oven.)
Preheat the oven to 220°C (fan forced, increase to 235°C if not fan forced) – remember that the ham is already cured and cooked and all you are doing is glazing it to serve.
Place the leg of ham on a wire rack set in a large, heavy-based baking tin, with a little water in the bottom of the tin so the ham doesn’t burn and smoke out your oven.
In England, you will find that the best mustard comes in powdered form. If you can find a good-quality powder, lightly dust it over the leg. However, quality prepared English mustard is almost as good. If using mustard from a jar, smother a thin layer all over the fat so the ham is covered. Scatter brown sugar all over your ham so it sticks to the mustard and forms a beautiful layer on top.
Put the ham in the oven and watch it carefully – you don’t want the sugar to clump and go hard. If you notice any pockets of sugar, they will set like toffee. Get the water sprayer and give the ham a little spritz to hydrate the sugar and help to melt it and glaze the ham.
Your ham will be beautifully glazed in about 30 minutes. If you think it’s getting too dark too soon, reduce the oven temperature and continue to cook until you have a lovely caramel sheen over the layer of fat.
It’s best to warm the ham in the oven just before you’re ready to serve. If you do it too early, the ham fat will solidify and not be as pleasant to eat.
Remove the ham from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes while you call your friends to the table and prepare the accompaniments. Slice the ham thinly across the grain for the most tender pieces.