Gammon is one of those incredibly warm and comforting foods. A fine crackling crust gives way to unctuously tender meat, that literally melts in the mouth. The curing & smoking process lends it a pleasing saltiness, which is incredibly moreish. And as for taste; its depth and intensity requires little fussing! Any attempt to complicate the flavour will most certainly end in a fight! You’ll end up with an over-powering muddle of flavours which is as muddy as it is disappointing. Gammon is a thing best prepared as simply as possible. And that’s equally to cook’s advantage – maximum reward for minimum effort!
Here the vegetables are cooked alongside the meat. This allows the flavours to slowly infuse together, making the resultant sauce a true triumph of taste and texture. A final swirl of creme-fraiche puts the cherry on the cake in terms of luxury; adding a velvety smoothness which is beyond compare. If you don’t take my word for it, give it a go yourself. You won’t regret the effort. Just be sure to tell me how you got on…!
Due to the salt content of gammon, it’s best to season mainly with pepper and dried herbs alone. Seal the meat on all sides in a little butter and oil, then place into the oven for 20 minutes whilst you prepare your vegetables.
Roughly dice whatever veg you have to hand. I chose a proud autumn selection – butternut squash, celery, yellow-pepper, red onion, and a little celeriac. Add these to your pan, so that they surround the meat and stir around with a wooden spoon so that they’re well coated in oil. If there’s insufficient in the pan, drizzle on a little olive oil to prevent the mix from sticking. Sprinkle on some dried thyme & chopped garlic, then dot a bay-leaf or two around the meat for background depth. Return the pan to the oven and continue to roast for one hour, or until the gammon is golden brown and succulent.
Once the meat is cooked, remove the gammon to your serving-dish and cover with tinfoil to rest and keep warm. Both the pork and vegetables with have surrendered a lot of liquid, so the dish is braised rather than roast. This is all to the good, as it means we have a ready-made sauce! Taste this to adjust for seasoning, then stir in a generous tablespoon of creme-fraiche and swirl around. Spoon the vegetables into your serving-dish alongside the gammon, then pour on your sauce.
A garnish of fresh herbs is all you need to complete the dish. It’s truly amazing how something so simple can be so packed with flavour. As I said in the title – with food this good, who needs carbs?? Not me, that’s for sure!
Thank you for reading and bon ap!