Cook the perfect Christmas ham

Christmas wouldn't be the same without a whole roast ham. In this version of the festive classic, chef Richard Harris uses a glaze flavoured with marmalade, clementines and spices. He also gives a very good reason for using ground cloves rather than the traditional whole ones.

For the ham:
2kg boneless gammon joint (choose a smoked one if you prefer your ham a little saltier)
1 carrot, chopped
I stick celery, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

For the glaze:
300ml dry cider
200g fine-cut marmalade
2tbsp English mustard
200g Demerara sugar
2 clementines, zest and juice
2 star anise
1 tsp ground cloves


1. Put ham and chopped vegetables in very large saucepan, along with the peppercorns and the bay leaf. Cover with cold water and simmer on the hob for 2 hours. Lift out of water and leave to cool in a roasting tray. (The leftover stock can be used to make soup).

2. To make the glaze, put cider in a saucepan and add marmalade, mustard, Demerara sugar and simmer gently.

3. Add star anise and ground cloves. Mix and allow it to simmer. Add juice and grated zest of the clementines and simmer for 10-15 mins to reduce.

4. Cut string off ham and remove skin, keeping as much fat as possible. Score the fat with a small sharp knife. Avoid cutting into the meat.

5. Place ham in roasting tin and pour the glaze over the top. Put into oven at 180 degrees for 30-40 mins. Take it out and baste it every ten minutes. When it's had 40 minutes, take it out and leave to cool completely.

This is delicious served with Gordon Ramsay's festive simple pear chutney, which can be made in advance and keeps for months.

Other ways of flavouring your ham:
Glazed gammon with Asian-style flavours (a modern twist on a classic)
Mustard-glazed roast ham
Honey roast Christmas ham

If you save your ham stock – it can be used in this warming winter soup, along with leftover ham. If you don't, chicken stock is a good substitute.

More festive food ideas:
What to do with a supermarket lobster
Christmas menus: Festive food for everyone
Festive cocktails, hot drinks and party food
Christmas cooking for one or two
How to have a Scandinavian-style Christmas
Christmas baking and dessert recipes

Make Christmas easier on yourself:
The ultimate Christmas countdown
Quick and easy last-minute Christmas
How to decode a whisky label
Take the stress out of Christmas
How to carve a turkey like an expert