A huge ham, boiled in two liters of Coca-Cola for hours, then studded with cloves, drizzled with molasses, sprinkled with brown sugar and mustard, and zonked in a hot oven until crisp and bubbly. You know you want it.
This is totally, completely, and utterly Nigella's recipe. I'm typing up the whole thing here only because I fear that if I just include the link you won't click through. You must make it. The boiling takes the salt out of the ham and makes it moist and falling-apart tender. The glaze is perfect--none of this gaudy pineapple and maraschino cherry tomfoolery (I'm looking at you, Martha). The recipe is marvelously trashy and will make your guests quake in fear at its wild unorthodoxy. Until the first bite. Then, they will be silenced.
And when you're done, you have the best ham stock ever. Stay tuned for its uses.
Ham in Coca-Cola
(stolen, intact, from Nigella Bites)
Click through on the recipe name for Nigella's colorful admonitions against Diet Coke and many other helpful hints. I'm just out to give the basic idea here:
Place, skin-side down, in a large pot with a lid:
4 1/4-4 1/2 pound bone-in fresh ham
(ToastMom and I found the designation "fresh ham" confusing. We decided smoked was OK, but do make sure there is nothing on the package that says "fully cooked" or "heat and serve.")
Add to the pot:
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola
Bring to a boil, reduce to a brisk simmer and cover loosely. Simmer for about 2 hours, or figure roughly an hour for every two pounds if you have a bigger ham. ToastMom and I used a 9 1/2 pounder, and it seemed quite well-boiled after a little more than 4 hours.
When the ham is getting done, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Take the ham out of the liquid and let cool slightly. Place the ham in a roasting pan and remove the skin. Score the layer of fat below in diamond shapes and stud each diamond with a clove. This should require:
A small handful of cloves
1 heaping tablespoon molasses
Mix, then sprinkle over:
2 teaspoons English mustard powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pop into the very hot oven, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the fat no longer looks slimy and disgusting and the glaze browns and bubbles.
The Weekend Cookbook Challenge is Easter Breakfast and Brunch and this is my entry. Coca-Cola ham is perfect for Easter. But just because Easter is past, don't wimp out and wait until next year. Make this recipe today. Obviously, Nigella Bites isn't "a cookbook I've never used before" but this recipe is in the spirit of the event, since I've been flipping fearfully past this recipe for years, pretending like it wasn't there, but in some other, little-used cookbook instead.