Buckfast baked ham with pomegranate and mint

Serves: 10
Course: Dinner
Cooking Time: 4 hrs
Prep Time: 10 mins
  • 4–5kg smoked ham joint, on the bone, raw
  • 1 x 750ml bottle of Buckfast, keeping back 2 tbsp for the final step
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint, leaves shredded finely (keep the stalks)
  • 50g pomegranate molasses
  • 1 fresh pomegranate, seeds removed

1. Soak the ham in a large pot of cold water for about 4 hours, changing the water once. Drain.

2. Cook the ham by pouring in three-quarters of the bottle of Buckfast and topping up with enough fresh water to cover the ham. Throw in the mint stalks and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow for the following cooking time: 40 minutes per kg plus an additional 20 minutes. That means a 4kg ham would take 3 hours to cook, while a 5kg ham would take 3 hours 40 minutes.

3. When the ham is cooked, allow it to stand in the water for about 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool slightly. Place on a foil-lined baking tray.

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

5. Put the remaining Buckfast (minus the 2 tablespoons that you’re saving for the very end) in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then continue to let it boil until it has reduced by half. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pomegranate molasses and half of the shredded mint.

6. When the ham is cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to remove the skin, leaving a layer of fat behind that’s 1–2cm thick. Using the same sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern into the fat.

7. Brush half of the Buckfast glaze over the ham. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then baste with the rest of the glaze. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes, until a golden colour all over.

8. Allow to cool slightly before carving. Serve warm with a simple accompaniment made by mixing the pomegranate seeds with the rest of the mint and the last 2 tablespoons of Buckfast.

Recipe from Bake: Traditional Irish Baking with Modern Twists by Graham Herterich, published by Nine Bean Rows (€25)