Gammon

Gammon is the lower part of a side of bacon. The difference between gammon and ham is that a gammon is the hind leg cut off square after curing and ham is the hind leg cut off round before curing. It is then cured separately.

A whole gammon weighs about 12 pounds and is usually divided into smaller cuts. The whole gammon may be simmered in water, stock or cider and then baked in the oven, glazed with brown sugar or honey, stuck with cloves and garnished with pineapple or cherries. It may also be used for the classic English dish of boiled bacon.

To cook gammon, first soak it for at least 6 hours or overnight to remove excess saltiness. If the gammon is un-smoked it will require only 2 hours of soaking. Place the gammon in a large saucepan and cover it with the liquid. Bring it to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes to the pound and 20 minutes over. Allow the gammon to cool in the cooking liquid. When it is cold, remove it from the pan and peel off the skin. If the gammon is to be served without baking, cover the surface with brown breadcrumbs.

The whole gammon may also be roasted. After soaking it must be wrapped in aluminium foil or in a flour and water paste before being roasted in the oven preheated to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas Mark 5,190°C) for 20 minutes to the pound and 20 minutes over.

The smaller joints cut from the whole gammon are: middle gammon, which is considered a prime cut and which is suitable for boiling and roasting (thick slices cut from this joint are called gam-mon steaks and are suitable for grilling , frying and poaching); gammon corner, which may be cooked in the same way as middle gammon; gammon slipper, which is a small lean joint suitable for boiling or cooking in a casserole; and gammon knuckle which is the cheapest cut and which is suitable for boiling.

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