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What is the best way to cook a whole ham at home?

If you want to cook a ham yourself, you will have to order a whole or half joint from the butcher. If the ham is dry-cured and salty it may need soaking overnight in cold water before you cook it, so consult your supplier when you take delivery of the ham.

Hams can be boiled or baked. To boil, put the ham in a large pan of fresh clean water, bring it to the boil, and then simmer it gently for 40 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes extra.

If serving hot, rest the joint for 30 minutes before carving. To serve cold, cool in the water, drain and then remove the skin and press brown breadcrumbs into the fat. To bake a ham, wrap the joint loosely in foil and place in a baking dish. Cook in a 160 degrees C oven for 40 minutes per kg. Thirty minutes before the end of the time, take out the ham and raise the oven temperature to 220 degrees C. Drain off the juices, cut off the skin and score the fat in a diamond pattern. Stud with cloves, spread generously with English or French mustard and then press brown or demerara sugar all over. Return to the oven to finish cooking and then allow the ham to rest for 30 minutes before carving, or leave to cool overnight.

To serve, add a paper frill and serve hot with new potatoes and freshly cooked vegetables or cold with a selection of salads. Cumberland sauce, either homemade or bought in a jar from a good delicatessen or supermarket, is a traditional accompaniment, as are a selection of hot and mild tasty mustards.

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22:21:22 on 01/07/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -