My Christmasham was a 5 kilo or 11lb beast and covered in a crunchy, moreish breadcrumb crust and then basted in a flavoursome root beer caramel. I had made this many years ago before the blog and before Mr NQN and was so besotted by it that I vowed to make it again when I had a lot of mouths to feed. The ham is easy enough to do and just requires a basting every 30 minutes and then a coating of a breadcrumb crust. It is then baked and basted to glistening perfection before being sliced up with some of the breadcrumb mixture and the sweet, fragrant caramelised syrup.
Ham in Root Beer
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1.5 litre/3.1pints bottle of root beer (you can also use sarsparilla or Coca Cola but definitely notDiet anything darlings)
3-4 tablespoons mustard
120g/4 ozs melted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups bread crumbs (the fine, dried variety rather than fresh)
fat pinch of salt
ground black pepper
cloves to stud
Step 1 - If you want to eat the rind, leave on, otherwise remove with a sharp knife. Make sure that the ham fits in a roasting pan and that the rungs in your oven are positioned correctly so that the ham can fit. Pour the root beer over the ham to about 1.5cms/0.6inch depth in the pan-I used about half a 1.5 litre/3pint bottle of root beer. Cover with generously oiled foil and then bake at 180ºC/350ºF for 2 and a half hours (30 minutes per kilo or 2.2lbs), basting with the root beer at the bottom of the baking dish every 30 minutes or so and topping up if you need to.
Step 2 -Meanwhile make the breadcrumb crust and set aside. Combine sugar, mustard, butter and bread crumbs in the bowl and then add some root beer so that you can make a thick breadcrumb mix that will adhere to the side of the ham. Pat this breadcrumb mix all over the ham, score diamonds with a sharp knife and stud centres with cloves and pour the remaining root beer into the bottom of the pan.
Step 3 - Place back in the oven, uncovered, for another 30 more minutes until the crust firms up and starts to become golden in parts. Remove from the oven and carefully baste with the sticky, sweet juice. Return to oven to another 10 minutes. Once done, remove from oven, cool for 20 minutes. Do a final baste to make it glossy (the root beer will have become a deliciously thick sauce). Remove the cloves, slice thinly and serve with the breadcrumb mixture and some of the caramel.