1 March 2012

Gammon, pot roasted in Cola

I was having trouble, just then, working out whether to call this "Gammon, pot roasted in cola" or "Pot roast cola gammon" or even "Cola braised Gammon ham".  It's a tricky one.

Either way, what it was trying to convey is that this blog post is all about a boneless smoked gammon joint, that was cooked in a saucepan of cola drink, celery, onion and carrots.  You can make your own mind up as to what to call it.  I call it yummy - but a terror to clean up afterwards!

I had been pondering over what to cook the bacon joint in - or whether to just pop it in the oven and roast it - for some time before hubby mentioned that we had a spare bottle of cola that I could use, if I wanted.  Having already made a ham cooked in cola (albeit a much bigger one, the Christmas before last), I thought it would be interesting to see how it translated to a much smaller piece of meat.

Has definitely succumbed to the "cola" effect!
The joint I had was around 800g, so just a little fellow - but just enough for a Sunday dinner, with a little left over for sandwiches the next day.

As is my habit, I soaked the gammon overnight to reduce its salt content.  It smelled lovely when it went into its chilly bath (I just used water, as I was only interested in getting rid of the salt, rather than getting additional flavours into the meat) and I was quite hopeful of a good dinner the following day.

I roughly chopped up the two carrots, an onion and two sticks of celery and used them to create a trivet upon which to put the meat, as I've known the bottom of a piece of meat become quite scorched when cooked this way.  In went the gammon and I poured the cola in until just covering the top of the meat, whilst still leaving a gap at the top of the saucepan.  I didn't want it boiling over - not with cola involved in it, anyway!

I left the gammon chuckling away on a low simmer for approximately an hour and a half.

What I didn't think about though, was that as the pot simmered the steam gathered under the lid and ever so slightly lifted it.  Enough for a splurt of cola/steam mix to decorate the top of my cooker, the buttons on the front of the cooker, the saucepan, the worktop to the side - and anything else that wanted to get in the way, with a sticky dark brown goo that was extremely hard to remove.  Oh - and the goo that had managed to creep in between the saucepan and the hot plate and then burn, was virtually welded on.  *sigh*  I'll have to think of a better plan, if I'm going to do this again in future.

I had used a big jam cauldron for the Christmas piece that I cooked in this way, and it obviously didn't have the same effect between steam and lid, as this hadn't happened then.
Served with roast potatoes & parsnips, creamed leeks, cabbage and carrots - delicious!

Still, the end result was worth all the mopping up and cleaning.  The ham emerged looking pleasingly dark and, when cut, demonstrated a lovely distinction between the cola-flavoured outside and the pink, succulent inside.  Between the soaking and the cooking, the ham had wound up delightfully moist and very acceptably mild in flavour.  There wasn't a very distinctive difference in flavour between the inner and outer, which is nice because you don't really want a strong cola influence in your roast dinner.

Roasties close up - no dribbling, now!
I had used the gorgeous Greenvale Farmfresh Jelly Potatoes for my roasties and can report that they are utterly perfect when used in this way.  I par-boiled them - at which they behave impeccably, not collapsing, or dissolving, or remaining bullet-like - and roasted them for the prescribed 45 minutes at 200degF.  The end result was a perfect, crispy, gently potato flavoured roastie, which we all agreed was one of the nicest roast potatoes we'd had in a very long time.

Next on the list for these potatoes is to try them in potato salad, after which I'm sure will come some mashed potato.  I can't see son & heir letting me get away without mashing them, for very much longer!

.

8 comments:

  1. I made this on Sunday actually, except without the vegetables... and also I stupidly forgot to keep the gammon submerged so it went a bit dry and hard on the outside, oops!

    Lovely dish though. Next time I I make it I'm going to have to pay more attention to what I'm doing!

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    1. To be honest, Brittany, I'd have had trouble keeping my gammon submerged, because it kept floating! LOL I just turned it over whenever I was passing.

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  2. No matter what this is called, it is enticingly delicious! Yummy =)

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    1. It looks as good as it tasted, Raquel!

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  3. I wonder if this could be another one for the slow cooker? Oh, and I heartily recommend using window-cleaner to clean up stubborn goo around the cooker.

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    1. I did debate using the slow cooker, Laura, but because it was a relatively small piece of gammon it didn't really seem worthwhile. Our slow cooker is such a monster, unless you're going to be at least filling it half way, it just isn't worth all the washing up! LOL

      Window cleaner, eh? Ingenious! I've got to be careful what I use on our cooker top, as it's one of those halogen types with the glassy top. You can't use anything that will scratch (which I expect most window cleaners wouldn't). We've got a special halogen hob cleaning liquid that brings it up to a lovely shine, but is expensive so I didn't want to use loads, so I wore down my fingernails instead. LOL

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  4. looks very good to me! I need an excuse - sounds like a really nice Sunday lunch dish with rather special left overs. I wonder if cola would work with other meats (chicken or pork...)

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    1. I'd be cautious about using it with chicken, as I think it needs that saltiness that the Gammon brings, to balance the flavours. Without that, I could imagine you'd wind up with everything too sweet. Although, having said that, if you introduced some chilli to the mix, that might work!

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