Neven Maguire: Honey-glazed Ham with Cloves


‘This ham is cooked in the traditional manner’, says Neven Maguire in his new book Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas. ‘It’s simmered in a large pan first before being finished off in the oven, which keeps the finished result really moist.

Serves 10 – 12


5.25kg (11½lb) leg of gammon, on the bone and skin on
4 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 onions, sliced
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 tbsp black peppercorns
200ml (7fl oz) Irish whiskey
200ml (7fl oz) honey
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp ground allspice
2 tsp whole cloves


1. Soak the gammon in cold water for at least 6 hours (or overnight is best), then drain.

2. Weigh the gammon and calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes – this size takes about 4 hours. Put in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum. Add the celery, onions, thyme and peppercorns and return to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer until completely tender, occasionally skimming off any scum that rises to the top. If you aren’t sure the gammon is properly cooked, check the bone end – it should come away freely from the gammon joint. Drain and leave until cool enough to handle.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4).

4. Carefully peel away the skin, leaving the layer of white fat intact. Using a sharp knife, score the fat diagonally to make a diamond pattern.

5. Put the whiskey in a pan with the honey, redcurrant jelly, balsamic vinegar and ground allspice. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Stud the ham with the cloves and put in a large roasting tin with a little water to prevent the bottom from catching and burning. Brush a layer of the glaze all over the ham, reserving the remainder. Cook in the oven for 1 hour, brushing over another layer of the glaze every 15 minutes, until it’s all gone. Transfer to a platter and leave to rest for 15–20 minutes before carving into slices to serve. Use as required.


Neven Maguire’s new book Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas is published by Gill Books – buy it at the Gill Books online bookshop or at any good bookstore throughout Ireland.

CURATE: You can also buy Neven Maguire’s Perfect Irish Christmas online at

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