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Nigella’s Coca Cola Ham

November 21, 2009

We hosted a big family Thanksgiving get-together tonight – with a grand total of 13 adults, 3 children and 1 infant – so I had to cook up quite a storm between last night and this evening, and I am pooped!

Last night I made & refrigerated big batches of Harumi’s yummy Somen Noodle Salad and Real Simple’s Garlicky Mashed Potatoes with Thyme , so that today I could focus my energies on my tour de force – Nigella’s famed Coca Cola Ham recipe. I also made a side of sweet carrots so we got a little more of vitamins. (On a side note, the potato recipe is fab, with just light notes of garlic and thyme so that the potatoes aren’t overwhelmed.)

Anyway, back to the ham. I had procured a 2.3kg hunk of cooked cured gammon from the Swiss Butchery at Coronation earlier in the day, and at about 3:30pm I happily went about my cooking as per Nigella’s recipe. I washed the ham, put it into my nice new stock pot, added a cut onion, inundated the lot with Coke, and brought it to the boil. While the ham was simmering, it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps the recipe called for uncooked rather than cooked gammon. I panicked and did some googling, and my fears were confirmed.

Cold sweat. Do I still cook the ham in the Coke for almost 3 hours as the recipe asks (because what’s the point of double-cooking a cooked ham?), or do I remove it and just shove it into the oven? Who wants an overcooked ham, or a ham that hasn’t spent much time in the Coke at all? After pacing about my kitchen, I decided to go ahead with the simmer-in-Coke bit, but for a reduced length of time. And mercifully, the ham turned out marvelously! Moist and tender, with a delicious glaze on the top. We only have enough leftovers for a nice sandwich or two tomorrow…

Now I see why so many foodies are wild over this recipe. Definitely a keeper =)

So here’s my version of Nigella’s Coca Cola Ham recipe with a handful of modifications, for those of you want to make it with pre-cooked gammon.

Coca Cola Ham with Pre-Cooked Gammon

– 2kg cured pre-cooked gammon
– 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
– 2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola (Or whatever amount you need to cover the gammon – the smaller the pot, the less Coke required.)

For the Glaze
– Handful of cloves
– 1 rounded tablespoon of golden syrup (Original recipe calls for black treacle, but that’s a bit of a hassle to find in Singapore. I hear molasses are a potential substitute, but I also hear molasses can be somewhat nasty… I also like that golden syrup is lighter than black treacle.)
– 2 teaspoons English mustard powder (I think in Singapore you can only get the brand Colman’s.)
– 2 teaspoons Demerara (granulated brown sugar)

1. Put the gammon in a large enough saucepan/stockpot/French oven, skin-side down if possible

2. Add the onion, then pour over the Coke.

3. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, put the lid on (but not tightly) and cook for about 1½ hours.
If your joint is larger or smaller, adjust the timing by adding or subtracting say half an hour per kilo.

4. Just before the end of the cooking time, preheat the oven to 240°C or 180°C, depending (see steps 7 and 8).

5. When the ham is done, remove it from the heat, and let cool a little for ease of handling. Then take it out of the pot, remove the skin, and leave a thin layer of fat.
You can keep the cooking liquid but I’m still figuring out what to do with it, beyond what I suggest in step 6.

6. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove. Transfer ham to a foil-lined roasting tin, and pour over a few ladles of the cooking liquid.
(Be careful not to cut too deeply into the ham when you score it, especially when yours has hardly any fat on it like my ham did. I would have preferred my cuts to be shallower… A quarter of an inch is enough.)

7. If you want the ham in the oven right away, have the oven at 240°C. Carefully spread the golden syrup over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves. Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat. Then bake the ham for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.

8. If you want to let the ham cool to room temperature first and bake it later, then you only need the oven at 180°C. Glaze the ham just before baking, and bake it for 30-40 minutes, raising the temperature at the end if it appears necessary.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2009 11:35 am

    Nice baked ham recipe! It’s nice to read all the christmas recipes. I am making my ham with guinness this christmas 🙂

  2. B's Mom permalink
    November 23, 2009 11:28 pm

    You’ve inspired me to try this ham recipe for Christmas dinner! My parents are visiting us on Christmas Day so maybe i’ll braise the ham the day before.

  3. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    November 24, 2009 12:13 am

    Hi Ellie! That sounds neat. My mum in law said she likes to make hers with beer… I suppose any acidic + sugary liquid does the job!

    B’s Mom: That’s great! A colleague just said she would use it too. Be sure to get the mustard powder. The glaze is yummylicious =) Let me know how it goes!

  4. November 27, 2009 10:32 pm

    Wow, you did such a fabulous job! It looks fantastic! My compliments!


  5. November 29, 2009 2:47 am


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  6. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    November 29, 2009 3:11 pm

    Thanks Ju!

  7. shokoh permalink
    December 29, 2009 2:40 pm

    Just wanted to say WOW! Did a pilot run and then took the plunge and made this for the Christmas Eve dinner we hosted and it was an absolute hit! Thanks mrsmultitasker for the idea and the inspiration- you rock!!

  8. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    December 29, 2009 7:13 pm

    shokoh: Yay I’m so proud of you! I made the ham again too (two hams actually), for my family’s Christmas do, and it was well received also =) Nigella’s the bomb. Now we know what we can do when we have leftover coke…

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