Last week, while talking about delivered meat boxes, a friend asked if I had any idea what to do with a gammon joint. They had received one in their last meat box and didn't have a clue where to start with it. I jokingly suggested that they should acquire a bread-fruit and cook Oil Down. Another, more sensible person suggested cooking the gammon in coke. I had heard of cooking ham this way before, but it was something that I put down as a weird idea. The conversation moved on and I forgot all about gammon, after all I didn't have any.
On Friday, while discussing my plans for the weekend, I was offered the gammon joint that had starred in the previous conversation. It turns out that neither Elizabeth nor Rachel are actually that keen on cured pork. My mum is exactly the same. She loves pork chops, roasts a mean pork shoulder but can't stand bacon. A little bit of bartering later*, I was the proud owner of a modest but perfect gammon joint.
There was only one thing I could do with it really and that was to cook it in coke. A bit of judicious internet surfing lead me to Nigella Lawson's Ham in Coca Cola recipe. I'm all in favour of odd cookery but submerging a joint of meat in coke did feel strange. I cooked the joint as per Nigella's instructions before going out for the afternoon.
The final part of the recipe was the glaze. I'm sure that you could have quite happily eaten the gammon without glazing it but I felt like going the whole hog. In any case the meat needed reheating so not glazing it would have been a wasted opportunity. While the gammon was getting its final cook, under a coating of treacle, brown sugar and English mustard, we roasted a sweet potato and boiled some new potatoes to make a two potato mash. The final sweet accompaniment was some corn on the cob to round off the sweet savoury theme of the meal.
It wasn't the handsomest plate of food I have ever photographed, but what it lacked in looks it certainly made up for in flavour. Yes I was sceptical about the whole cooking meat in fizzy pop thing but I shouldn't have been. The coke didn't just add sweetness to the meat but also added an extra meatiness to the joint. I'm much more likely to have a joint of gammon in the house in future than a bottle of coke but if the two turn up at the same time, I have a feeling that I'll be cooking this again.
*I owe you some lamb!