Cuisine Fiend

apple cider braised gammon



Braised gammon

Gammon is ham – or is it? The simplest differentiation is that cooked gammon is ham, both being a joint cut from pig’s hind leg (bum, really), cured and optionally smoked. Gammon is sold as is and needs to be cooked to be consumed; ham is sold already cooked.

All right: not. What about the plethora of raw hams? Serrano, Bayonne, Jinhua ham, prosciutto crudo, Rohschinken and speck, not to mention other numerous raw-ish pork comestibles like Mett and nduja? Why are THEY all not called gammon but ham, is it only a linguistic debate?

Cider braised ham

It seems to be mainly that. Words (few, limited) I can think of in foreign languages do not usually differentiate between cooked, uncooked, cured or ready-to-eat. Schinken, prosciutto, jamon and jambon all mean both the particular cut of pork, the meat joint produced of such and various deli products created through various culinary processes. Only modifiers change accordingly: cru, crudo, iberico, Ammerländer, often designating the region this or that delicacy originates from.

The Innuit allegedly have 100 words for snow. We have two for pork bum and the two are enough to create a hell of confusion.

Ham braised with apples

Anyway – this is truly the best way to cook gammon/ham/pork bum. It is out of this world and will make ham (ham! ham!) sandwiches to die for.

  • 1kg (over 2 pounds) gammon joint
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 2 apples
  • 1 star anise
  • 6-7 cloves
  • 2 tsp ancho chili paste (or another mild chili paste)
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 500ml (2 cups) apple cider


Gammon joint

Soak the gammon joint in cold water overnight. Drain, refill the pan with fresh water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then lift the gammon out of the pan and put aside.

Peel and dice the onion, peel the garlic cloves and crush them lightly with the blade of a knife. Peel, core and slice the apples.
Heat up the oil on medium heat in a large casserole or ovenproof pan. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 15 minutes until softened but not too browned. Add the apple slices, star anise and the cloves, chili paste and the maple syrup and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2.

Place the gammon on top of the aromatics. Add the cider so that it comes halfway up the joint. Bring it gently to a simmer on the hob and transfer to the oven, uncovered.
Braising gammon

After 30 minutes check that the sauce is only just simmering, and turn over the meat. Turn it again every 30 minutes for the next 2 ½ - 3 hours, topping up the liquid with more cider or just water if it cooks off too much.

Carefully remove the gammon from the sauce and leave on a warm plate to rest. Strain the sauce through a colander and bring it to the boil in a clean saucepan. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if necessary.  Reduce it a little over high heat. Alternatively, keep the sauce as it is and spoon the apples onto serving plates alongside sliced gammon.
Apple cider braised gammon
To serve, trim the rind and fat and slice the gammon across the grain.

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