This is part of a semi-regular series of posts tackling how to make some of the things that we often end up buying pre-made. Things that we think of as basic ingredients, that aren’t ‘ingredients’ at all but are actually processed in some way for us. Things like bread, jam, butter, ketchup, baked beans and pickled ginger. Not everything is cheaper to make than buy, yet when you make it yourself, you know what’s in it.
I usually buy pretty cheap wafer thin ham for Dave’s lunch sandwiches (I tend to have soup myself), but I was curious to see if it was cheaper to buy a big joint, cook it and slice it up yourself.
Since it was the first time, I didn’t want to get too big a joint (in case it was horrible, or I messed it up in some way), so I stuck with a 750g gammon joint from Asda, which cost £3.50. I usually buy free range or outdoor reared pork, but I haven’t been able to source any in Glasgow (even Waitrose didn’t have any last time I was in), and, since Dave isn’t that bothered, I just bought a normal joint.
I soaked the joint for a couple of hours to remove some of the saltiness, then replaced the water with clean water and boiled for 40 minutes. Apparently you can use the boiling water as stock, but as it was such a small joint, the water hadn’t flavoured that much in the short cooking time, so I ended up not keeping it.
I then preheated the oven to 200C and cut a shallow diagonal pattern into the fat around the edge of the gammon.
EDIT – I forgot to say I rubbed in a mix of honey and whole grain mustard here – must have been too sleepy when writing this! Used 1tbsp of each.
I roasted for around 25 minutes, rotating once during the cooking time. When I took it out of the oven, it was golden all round the outside, and cooked through. After leaving it to rest for 15 minutes, I used my new electric knife to carve into thin slices.
I put aside 200g of the sliced gammon for our dinner that night – I served with apple sauce, roasted potatoes and veg and boiled green beans – then I split the rest into six portions, which I froze for Dave’s sandwiches. This works out to 44p per portion, which isn’t the cheapest lunch around, but it’s much nicer and better quality than the cheap ham I was buying before. It’d also be cheaper to buy a bigger joint of gammon, which I’ll do next time. The thinner you slice the meat, the better for stretching it – since it was the first time I’d used my electric knife, my slices weren’t very even – I reckon I could do better next time.