Festive bites: Neven Maguire shares his favourite Christmas recipes

Neven Maguire:
Maple Glazed Ham with Pineapple Salsa

Serves 10–12


  • 5.25kg (11lb) leg of gammon (on the bone and skin on)
  • 4 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1tbsp black peppercorns
  • 200ml (7floz) Irish whiskey
  • 200ml (7floz) maple syrup
  • 2tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1tbsp ground allspice
  • 1tbsp whole cloves

Pineapple salsa:

  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm (½in) dice
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
  • ½ large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 2tsp freshly grated root ginger
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Although gammon is less salty nowadays, soaking is still a good idea. Place the gammon in a large pan and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight is best, then drain.
  • Weigh the gammon joint and calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes – a 5.25kg (11lb) joint should take about 4 hours.
  • Place 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 its cool enough to handle.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 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, being careful not to cut into the meat.
  • Place the whiskey in a pan with the maple syrup, redcurrant jelly, balsamic vinegar and ground allspice.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  • Stud the ham with the cloves and place in a large roasting tin with a little water to prevent the bottom from catching and burning.
  • Brush a layer of the syrup all over the ham, reserving the remainder. Cook for 1 hour, brushing over another layer of the glaze every 15 minutes, until it’s all gone.
  • Remove the cooked ham from the oven, transfer to a serving platter and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the pineapple salsa. Mix the diced pineapple with the sugar.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat, add the pineapple and cook quickly for about 2 minutes to lightly caramelise it.
  • Tip into a bowl and add the onion, lime rind and juice, chilli, herbs and ginger.
  • Season to taste and set aside to allow the flavours to develop.
  • To serve, carve slices from one side of the ham, cutting diagonally to achieve an even thickness. When you reach the bone, insert the knife at a flatter angle and slice across the top of the bone.
  • Turn over the leg to carve slices from the other sides. Arrange on serving plates with spoonfuls of the pineapple salsa.


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