Glazed ham has long been a Christmas tradition in many Australian households and for good reason! If you get it right, the glossy, glistening ham with its irresistible, shiny, lacquered finish makes a spectacular centrepiece. When carved, it reveals the juicy pink meat below, ready to feed a hungry crowd.
But how do you ensure you nail it every time? We spoke to the resident expert at Pialligo Estate, Darren Perryman and asked him to share the secrets to a perfectly glazed Christmas Ham. As the Executive Chef on site, he is adept at preparing dishes that highlight the award-winning boutique smokehouse’s all-natural products.
Ranking highest in priority is “selecting a tender, juicy, salty ham”, Darren said. Starting with a good quality product is exactly how Pialligo Estate commences the process of making their delicate and moist hams ready for any feast. With a choice of six different hams available to pre-order, the Free Range Smoked Bone-In Ham selections this year are from Borrowdale Free Range Pork, winner of best pork in Australia in 2018. Each ham is then prepared according to a traditional recipe, naturally smoked and cooked to perfection.
“The fact that we source all of our pork from farms that farm responsibly and all of our products here at Pialligo are handmade with the utmost attention to detail and care is what sets apart us at Pialligo Estate Christmas Ham,” said Darren.
With your ham selected, the next step to a triumphant Christmas spread is the glaze and this year, Darren’s favourite is “our very own Pialligo Estate Christmas Ham Glaze. It’s a combination of brown sugar (for a wonderful caramel effect and flavour), maple syrup (for that wonderful earthy sweetness), and some carefully selected spices to round it all off.”
As for the best technique to use when glazing, Darren shares some critical advice: “This is important! Before putting the ham in the baking tray, score the skin in a diagonal one way and then the other way to create little diamonds. Raise the ham up off the baking tray by either using some rough cut vegetables or a roast stand. Place some water in the bottom of the tray, this will keep the ham from drying out while roasting. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for approximately one hour depending on the size of the ham at 170 degrees Celsius. Once the ham is starting to colour, start to brush the glaze over the ham. You want to repeat this process a number of times to create a sweet sticky layer that will caramelise and become crispy and delicious. Once you have the desired colour you can remove it from the oven. Slice and serve.”
For crowd-pleasing sides to serve alongside a Christmas Ham, Darren said, “Classics are always the best to stick with. Simple roasted potatoes, boil them until the edges are just starting to crumble. Gently strain and steam dry for 10 minutes. Toss them with olive oil, salt and rosemary and roast until golden and crispy. Along with a creamy cauliflower gratin and some lightly blanched green beans tossed with olive oil, salt, black pepper.”
With the meal all taken care of, Darren said his most favourite of all Christmas traditions is “definitely being with family, there’s no place I’d rather be.”
To get a kickstart on your Christmas meals, Pialligo Estate has a range of succulent hams available for pre-order. Coupled with their range of hampers which feature their quality handmade products made specifically for the festive season including Christmas Pudding and Christmas Ham Glaze.
Pre-order your Christmas Hams online by the 3rd of December to avoid missing out!