At Christmas, bring out the big guns with a whole leg of ham. This recipe, Glazed Ham With Spiced Cherries, is fast and the leftovers will be a treat for breakfasts and sandwiches for weeks to come.
4-6kg leg of ham on the bone (or an ‘easy carve’ ham, which has the femur and hip bone removed)
30-40 whole cloves
60g English mustard or 1 tbsp English mustard powder
55g brown sugar
400ml white wine vinegar
400g caster sugar
2 dried chillies
2 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
1kg fresh cherries
To make spiced cherries, place all ingredients except cherries in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Pour in 200ml water then simmer for 5 minutes. Add cherries and simmer for another minute. Pour hot mixture into sterilised jars and seal with lids. Turn upside down straightaway and set aside upturned (this helps form a vacuum seal) until cool. Note: spiced cherries taste best after a little time in the jar. They will even be fantastic next Christmas!
Place leg of ham on a board, skin side up. Using your fingertips, or a small knife, prise skin away from the fat (starting near end of bone). Remove and discard skin.
Trim very fatty areas until about 1cm of fat covers ham. Score fat in a diamond pattern down to the meat, making sure not to penetrate the flesh. Place a clove in the middle of every diamond pattern, pushing into fat and flesh firmly to secure. (The cloves will perfume the flesh as they warm in the oven.)
Preheat oven to 220°C fan-forced. Place leg of ham on a wire rack set in a large, heavy-based roasting pan. Pour a little water into bottom of pan.
Spread a thin layer of English mustard all over fat layer, or lightly dust with powdered mustard then sprinkle brown sugar all over.
Place basted leg of ham in oven and cook for about 30 minutes, watching to check that the sugar does not clump and set like toffee. If it does clump, use a water spray gun to help the sugar melt and form a glaze. If the ham is becoming too dark too soon, reduce temperature and continue to cook until a caramel sheen forms over the layer of fat.
Set aside leg of ham for 20 minutes to rest then thinly slice across the grain. Serve ham slices warm with spiced cherries on the side.