In honour of Martine McCutcheon's Christmas Digital Issue, Raymond Blanc has shared his foolproof recipe for cooking the perfect Christmas ham this season.
"A much-loved symbol of Christmas, glazed ham says party, celebration and indulgence," Raymond says. "On a large board, and with a sharpened carving knife beside it, the ham is an irresistible temptation.
READ: Martine McCutcheon's secret to feeling better than ever - and the other Christmas film she was almost cast in
"My recipe requires a deep roasting tin, rather than a massive stockpot, thereby sparing the windows in your home from being steamed up. Gammon, incidentally, is the raw cut of meat. Once cooked, it is ham."
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2½ hours, plus 40 minutes to caramelise
Serves at least 12-14
1 large onion
½ stick of celery
3 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
1 curly or flat-leaf parsley sprig
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3.5kg gammon, on the bone
3-4 litres recently boiled water
For the glaze:
teaspoons English mustard
60ml dark rum
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2-3 turns of ground black pepper
80g runny honey
40g Demerara sugar
Simply Raymond by Raymond Blanc, £16.99, Amazon
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2.
2. Coarsely chop the onion, carrot (just wash it, no need to peel), celery and peeled garlic. Put them into a large, deep roasting tin as you go.
3. Spread the vegetables evenly in the tin and add the bay leaf, thyme sprigs, parsley sprig and black peppercorns. Sit the gammon on top of the chopped vegetables and herbs. Pour in the recently boiled water so that it comes about two-thirds up the side of the tin. Loosely cover with tinfoil. Very carefully transfer the tin to the oven (if you prefer, you can add the hot water when the tin is in the oven). Cook for 2½ hours.
READ: Prince William and Kate's royal photographer reveals how to take the perfect Christmas photos
4. Remove the roasting tin from the oven – be careful of the hot water and steam as you open the oven door. Leave the oven on, as soon you will be glazing the ham. Leave the ham to cool slightly before transferring it to a shallower roasting tin (or a baking tray). Strain the cooking liquor, and leave this to cool. (It can be stored in the fridge or freezer and used for other dishes or as a base for soups.)
5. When the ham is cool enough to touch, remove the skin but try to keep as much fat as possible (if necessary, use a sharp knife or a spoon to help separate the skin if it sticks to the fat). The fat has a lot of flavour, and will help give a lovely crust.
6. To glaze the ham, mix the mustard with the rum to form a smooth paste. Add the mixed spice, coriander, cloves, finely ground black pepper, honey and Demerara sugar. Lightly brush the paste all over the ham.
7. Transfer the ham to the oven for 40 minutes, basting it several times until it is deep-amber in colour. Allow the ham to cool for at least 30 minutes before carving, although of course it's irresistible when it's warm. Practise your carving skills, and let the celebrations commence! Joyeux Noël!
READ: Trisha Goddard solves your most common Christmas dilemmas
Note: Cooking times for varying sizes of gammon:
8kg gammon on the bone – 6½ hours
5kg gammon on the bone – 3 hours
2.5kg gammon on the bone – 2 hours
Each of these hams requires an additional 40 minutes to caramelise in the oven.
Simply Raymond: Recipes from Home by Raymond Blanc (£20, Headline) is available now
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.
HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.