Top tips for preparing the perfect festive ham

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Top tips for preparing the perfect festive ham

Simple to follow glazing instructions.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the perfect glazed ham. Here are some top tips to make sure your version is perfect for the table!

- Choose the right sized ham e.g. a 4kg fillet of ham will feed 10 people and allows a little extra for leftovers on Christmas night!
- Choose ham with the Bord Bia Quality Mark so you know where it comes from and that it has been produced to the highest quality standards.
- Leave the skin on the ham when simmering. It can easily be removed after cooking and adds to the flavour. For extra flavour add some vegetables and a bay leaf to the cooking water.
- Adding cider, apple juice or orange peel to the cooking water intensifies the flavours and gives the meat some extra zing!
- Do not throw the cooking water out. It can be used to keep the ham moist when roasting in the oven.
- A ham glaze adds a sweet flavour to the ham by providing a contrast to its natural saltiness. It also adds a nice colour and texture to the finished product.
- Freeze any remaining cooking water in portions as stock for making soups and sauces.

Ham Glaze
For best results, once cooked, remove the skin of the ham with a sharp knife and gently score the fat into diamonds. For a simple glaze mix 1 tablespoon of mustard with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and spread over the fat before roasting in the oven for 30 minutes. For a honey glaze, add 3 tablespoons of clear honey and the grated rind of an orange to this mixture.
Leftovers?
Here are some delicious ideas for how to use your leftovers:
-  Slice the ham and serve with wholegrain mustard and herb dressing in a sandwich.
-  Chop the ham and add to frittatas or omelettes.
-  Combine chopped ham with a tin of tomatoes, garlic and basil and add to pasta.