It’s all been a bit meat heavy in the recipes here lately, hasn’t it? Apologies but here’s another one! It’s yet another big cut of meat – a whole ham this time. After seeing it on one of Nigella Lawson’s programmes, I’ve been wanting to try her Coca Cola ham for a while. It sounded good, the sweetness and spiciness of the Coke going well with the ham’s meaty saltiness.

The recipe is pretty brainless. Chuck the gammon into a pot, pour over the Coke, add a few aromatics and leave it be for two hours. Take it out, trim it and glaze it and roast for a litte bit. Done. I added a few things here and there that I thought would work well in it and I quite liked them in there. I tossed in some smoked paprika into the glaze to try to enhance the smokiness of the barbecue flavours in the ham. I think it worked rather well – the smokiness and the sweet.

Post Glazing and Roasting

With all the spare time I now had (thanks to the long simmering time), I made some mashed potatoes (ok, not exactly time consuming) and stewed green beans on the side. Along with the ham, they made a lovely trifecta of meatiness, creaminess and freshness. Leftovers keep well – this served the two of us for three meals; I’d originally wanted to have this for Christmas but wasn’t too sure what our post-Christmas shopping plans were so moved this meal forward. It would make a nice festive main course though!

Ham and Sides

A note: Nigella suggests saving the coca cola stock and making black bean soup with it. So I did. And immediately regretted using the stock straight up. The soup was ridiculously sweet and we could barely finish it. If you do want to use the stock, I’d suggest cutting it with some vegetable stock or water.

Ham in Coca Cola
adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe.
serves 4-6.

1.5kg smoked gammon ham joint
2L coca cola (full sugar)
1 small onion, peeled and halved
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 star anise


For the glaze:
2 tbsps light brown sugar
1 heaped tsp mustard powder
1 heaped tsp prepared yellow mustard (like French’s, not Colman’s)
1/2 tsp hot pimenton
2 tsps honey

Place the ham joint into a pot that’ll fit it. Cover with the coca cola (top up with water if needed) and toss in the onion, garlic, bay leaves and star anise. Bring it all to the boil and then turn the heat down and leave to simmer for one and a half to 2 hours. Skim off any of the gunk that floats to the top.

Simmering Away

When the simmering time is almost up, preheat your oven to 240 C.

Line a roasting pan with tinfoil. Take the ham out of the coke and sit it upright in the roasting pan (skin side up). With a sharp knife, cut off the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat all over the surface of the ham. Score the fat into large diamonds and stick a clove in at each point. Stir the glaze ingredients together and schmear it all over the fatty surface of the ham.

Stick it in the oven for about 10-15 mins. The glaze should be bubbling hot. Slice it thinly and serve.