Umm – how is it December already? It’s a mad dash from Christmas party, to Christmas concert, to Christmas shopping, to trying to suss out who has the best Santa and at what time the queue will be at its shortest and fitting in some time to blog. I especially wanted to tell you about a new Christmas ham recipe that I’ve been working on… It’s a French Christmas Ham.
I just don’t feel like it is Christmas time if we don’t have a ham on the table – and in our fridge for the days afterwards to top delicious white toast with plenty of butter. Each year, I usually do the same glaze on top of my ham – but this year I really wanted to try something different and I love the flavour that the tarragon brings to the ham.
I know that the shops can get a little crazy at Christmas time and often the fresh herbs are the first to go (amongst the fresh cream, berries , cranberry sauce and brandy snap baskets) – so that’s why I incorporated the dried tarragon, but it really makes a difference if you can get your hands on some of the fresh.
FRENCH CHRISTMAS HAM
Your choice of ham leg on the bone
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup cognac
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Juice and zest of 1 orange
French four spice (¼ tsp each of ground nutmeg, clove, white pepper, ginger)
20- 25 cloves
2 tbsps of dried tarragon
5 sprigs of tarragon, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 French shallots, finely chopped
50g butter, softened
Preheat your oven to 170°C.
Carefully peel back the skin of the ham and with your hands ensuring the fat is kept intact. Using a small knife score a crisscross pattern in the fat. Spread the mustard and dried tarragon over the ham and press a clove into each of the diamonds.
Place the ham on a rack in a large baking tray that fits in your oven. Add 1 cup of water to the tray.
In a small saucepan heat the butter and the french shallots until the butter has melted and the shallots are translucent. Then add the brown sugar, cognac, red wine vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, french spices together whisking to combine well.
Using a spoon, drizzle the ham with half of the glaze. Bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours, checking it every 20 minutes to ensure it does not burn and to baste each time with extra glaze using your fresh tarragon sprigs.
Rest for 30 minutes before carving.
Have you ever whipped up a recipe from my blog? I would love for you to let me know…So I don’t feel as if I am just writing all this stuff down for nothing… If you choose to whip up one of my recipes , then I would love for you to share it on social media, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #goodfoodweek.