Karen Martini’s Christmas feast
organic free-range ham, bone in (about 7kg)
peel of 2 oranges (peel with a knife, don’t grate or zest)
15 cloves, plus extra cloves for garnish
8 whole allspice berries
5 fresh bay leaves
2 heads of garlic, cut in half crossways
375g of quality cumquat marmalade (orange or mandarin would also work well)
2 pineapples, reserve the heads for garnish
2 tsp of allspice, ground
2 tsp of ground black pepper
1 tbs olive oil
Note: You’ll need a massive pot – about 20 litres – for this, but it’s fine to leave the shank sticking out a little. Alternatively, you can use a smaller or boneless ham but just need to reduce the poaching time, to about 45 minutes.
1. Take the ham out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking.
2. Place the ham in a large stock pot and cover with cold water, add the orange peel, cloves, allspice, bay leaves and garlic and bring to a simmer. Simmer slowly for one hour.
3. While the ham simmers, peel the pineapples then slice in half lengthways and cut into long wedges, about 3 to 4 wedges per half.
4. Toss the pineapple wedges through the allspice, pepper and oil and place in a baking tray big enough to hold the ham.
5. In a saucepan gently heat the marmalade and verjuice. Stir to combine.
6. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional.
7. Lift the ham out of the liquid carefully, perhaps gripping it with tea towels, and place in the baking tray with the pineapple. Pull off the skin, leaving the fat intact. Lightly score the fat with a knife in a traditional diamond pattern, or just in lines, and stud with the extra cloves. Glaze the ham and pineapple with half of the marmalade.
8. Place the baking tray in the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes, glaze again with the remaining marmalade and bake until a dark golden colour, about 10 more minutes. You will need to keep a careful eye on the ham as ovens may perform differently with such a large joint. Halfway through the cooking process put the pineapple heads in the oven with the ham.
9. Present the ham whole, surrounded by the pineapple with the heads for garnish. Carve at the table and serve with the roasted pineapple and any juices in the tray.
Tip: You can also bake the ham in a medium-hot (no hotter than 230C) barbecue with the lid closed.
Boxing Day sandwiches with ham, gruyere cheese, mustard and pickles is a big tradition in my house. Please buy a free-range ham and organic if you can, it is well worth the extra cost.