Having 'Geordie' roots, cooked ham and pease pudding would usually have featured during the New Year's Eve festivities. Sadly my Mum died a lot of years ago when I was 22 - but I do wonder if she would have tried this recipe were she still here today. The answer is probably yes, as a trained cook she understood the theory behind recipes and why certain ingredients work well together. In this recipe the flavour of of the sweet, spiky drink infuses the ham with spirit of barbecue without being in any way overpowering - and it also tenderises the ham amazingly well. Just think about cleaning pennies in a glass of the stuff!
I confess that, the first time I cooked this, I did so wondering if I was about to ruin a perfectly decent ham - but I think that good old Nigella Lawson came up trumps and I've used this way of cooking ham ever since!
Ham in Coca-Cola
2kg mild-cure gammon
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola
Mild-cure gammon doesn't need soaking, but if you know that you're dealing with a salty piece, then put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over the Coke.
Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for approximately 2½ hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour per kilo. But do take into account that if the gammon's been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.
I don't go to the time and trouble of glazing the ham (it never lasts long enough here), neither does Nigella most of the time. There are lots of different ways to do this of course, but this ham stands proudly on its own without any more fiddling around.
You do have plenty of time still to cook a ham this way in time for any New Year celebrations - just remember that it MUST be the non-diet Coca-Cola. And, you will use all of a 2 litre bottle for a 2kg piece of ham. Not even enough will be left to pour yourself a nice vodka and coke :)