3kg lightly salt-cured smoked boneless gammon joint in netting (order from your butcher’s)
4 tablespoons Homemade Christmas Mustard (see below, or buy some good-quality mustard)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
finely grated zest and juice of
1 organic orange
1 teaspoon crushed star anise
Wrap the gammon in foil nice and tightly – you will need a few layers so that the ham is completely covered. Place the gammon on an oven or roasting rack with a roasting tin filled with water underneath. Roast the gammon in a preheated oven at 160°C/Gas Mark 3 for 2–2½ hours until it is quite firm and cooked through while juicy on the inside. If you own a meat thermometer, you can check the core temperature of the meat, which should be about 65°C. Take the ham out of the oven and leave it to rest for 30 minutes in the foil. Meanwhile, combine the mustard, sugar, orange zest and juice and crushed star anise. Unwrap the ham, remove the netting and score a criss-cross pattern in the fat with a sharp knife. Spread the glaze on to the scored side of the ham – the pattern will help it stick to the meat. Then put the ham back in the oven at 190°C/Gas Mark 5 for 8–10 minutes until the glaze is completely crisp and golden on top. Remove the ham from the oven and serve it immediately with Stewed Kale (see below) and boiled potatoes. Homemade Christmas Mustard should also be on the table (below).
TIP You can cook the ham the day before you need it and then glaze it just before serving. There is a lot of meat in a ham and it may be too much for certain occasions. If that is the case, you can just use a kassler (lightly salt-cured smoked loin of pork) or a saddle of pork instead of a whole ham and follow the instructions above.
Homemade Christmas mustard
MAKES 1 SMALL JAR
3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
3 tablespoons black mustard seeds
6 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
4–5 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Roast the mustard seeds lightly in a dry pan until they begin to pop. Pour them into a mortar and grind them to a fine powder with a pestle (you can also use an electric coffee grinder, which you should only use for grinding spices so that they don’t taste of coffee). Pour the ground mustard into a bowl and add the measured water, little by little, while stirring constantly. Add the vinegar and season to taste with the brown sugar and salt.
Pour the mustard into a small sterilized glass jar and leave it in the refrigerator for 1–2 days for the flavours to combine well before using it. The mustard will keep fresh for several months in the refrigerator and will only taste better with time. Use within 6 months of opening.
TIP You can vary the flavour of the mustard by adding Christmas spices like star anise, cinnamon and cloves.
250g curly kale, stalks removed
sea salt flakes
30g plain flour
750ml semi-skimmed milk
2–3 gratings of fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon sugar
2–3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Check the kale for any bits of stalk and discard, wash it thoroughly in cold water and leave in a colander to drain. Blanch the kale in a large pan of salted boiling water for 3–4 minutes and then immediately plunge it into a bowl of cold water. Now press all the liquid out of the kale and chop it roughly. Melt the butter in a saucepan, whisk in the flour and cook to make a smooth roux.
Add the milk, a little at a time, while stirring vigorously until you have added it all and the sauce is smooth and lump free. Simmer the sauce until all the fl our taste is cooked out and the sauce is completely smooth and supple. Add the chopped, blanched kale to the sauce and let it stew for a while. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, the nutmeg, sugar and vinegar to taste, and serve immediately.
The Nordic Kitchen by Claus Meyer is available here.