The easiest slow cooker Christmas ham, lightly spiced and served with a refreshing red cabbage salad
When it comes to Christmas cooking I’m all about making life as easy as possible for myself. If you have guests staying you want to make delicious food for them, but not at the cost of spending all your time in the kitchen and missing out on the festivities. And this is why I LOVE this Christmas ham. It’s an absolute doddle to make. The ham will pretty much look after itself, allowing you to get on with the last of your Christmas shopping or entertaining friends and family.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, fear not as this recipe will work on the hob too. The general rule for cooking ham on the hob is to bring it to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes per 500g, but you can check that exact cooking times with your butcher (or supermarket ham should come with cooking instructions too).
For a 2kg ham I recommend 6-8 hours in the slow cooker. If you want to carve your ham then stick closer to the 6 hours but if you prefer it more crumbly, almost like pulled pork, then cook it for up to 8 hours.
Not only is this ham recipe a doddle to cook, but it’s so versatile too. I cooked it last year for Christmas Eve dinner and served it with my red cabbage salad and some crusty rolls. If you have family arriving at different times then this is a brilliant dinner to have waiting. People can help themselves as and when they arrive. Your guests get a delicious filling meal but you don’t have to spend all day slaving in the kitchen. Perfect!
If you plan to serve this on Christmas Day then you can cook the ham the day before, allow it to cool and keep it in the fridge overnight. Then the following day simply whack on the glaze and warm it up in the oven. So simple!
I’ve kept the spice flavours in this recipe very mild to make sure it’s still appealing to little taste buds. If you are cooking for adults only feel free to add more flavours to the cooking liquid and also to the glaze.
- For the ham:
- 2kg gammon
- 1 white onion
- 900ml / 3 cups apple juice
- 10 black peppercorns
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- For the salad:
- 1 red cabbage
- 2 red apples
- 2 small carrots
- 3 spring onions
- seeds from ½ pomegranate
- 3 tbsp cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of ½ lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley to garnish
- For the ham glaze:
- handful of whole cloves
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1½ tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp sugar (I used coconut sugar but brown sugar would work well too)
- ½ tsp all spice
- Cut the onion in half and place both pieces on the bottom of the slow cooker. Sit the gammon on top of the onions, fat side up. This will prevent it sticking as it cooks. Pour in the apple juice and add the peppercorns, cloves, star anise and bay leaves. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, depending on how crumbly you want your ham to be.
- Prepare the salad by chopping the red cabbage, apples and spring onions into small pieces. Add the grated carrot and pomegranate seeds and mix well. Make the dressing by mixing the cider vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper together in a lidded jar or bottle and shake well. Add the dressing to the salad just before serving.
- When the ham has cooked remove it from the slow cooker and rest it on a plate for a few minutes to allow the liquid to drain away. Preheat the oven to 220c and double line a baking tin with foil (don't skip this as the honey glaze will burn into your baking tray and it's a nightmare to get off!)
- Transfer the ham to the lined tray. Remove the skin with a sharp knife leaving a layer of fat on top. Score the fat and stud it with whole cloves.
- Make the glaze by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour half the glaze onto the fatty part of the ham, spreading it around until the top is fully covered.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, adding the remaining glaze half way through.
- Allow the ham to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.