Gammon with Irish whiskey caramel sauce


Serves: 6-8

Prep: 30 min
Cook: 2 hrs


2kg gammon
150g brown sugar
1 orange, juice only
Approx 30 Cloves

For the Irish whiskey sauce

225g Sugar
75ml cold water
225ml hot water
3-4 tbsp Irish whiskey

For the pea and spring onion champ

1.5kg Maris Piper potatoes, scrubbed
75g Butter
450g peas
75g Spring onions, chopped
4 tbsp chopped Parsley
500ml Milk, (or if you want it really rich, use 3/4 milk to 1/4 cream)


1. Put the gammon in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil, then pour off the water, fill up with fresh cold water and boil again. If there seems to be salt floating on the surface repeat again, but if there is not, then continue to boil for about 2 hours, allowing 30 minutes per kilo until the bacon is cooked.

2. For the Irish whiskey sauce: put the sugar and cold water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil until the sugar caramelises, it should be a deep golden colour, swirl the pan to keep the colour even but do not stir it or it will crystallise. Once it has caramelised add the hot water, boil again for a few minutes to mix the water with the caramel, then take off the heat and allow to cool for a minute before adding the whiskey. This sauce can be made in advance as it will keep for a long time…indefinitely actually!

3. Preheat the oven to 230C/gas 8.

4. Peel the rind off the gammon, but still leave the fat attached. Score the fat into diamonds, and stud each diamond with a clove. Mix the brown sugar and just enough orange juice to make a paste. Spread this paste over the fat and put in an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the fat is deep golden and glazed.

5. For the pea and spring onion champ: bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then cook the potatoes until tender, drain 3/4 of the water after 5-10 minutes, and continue to cook on a low heat until fully cooked. Avoid stabbing the potatoes with a knife – if they are floury potatoes they will break up if you do. Once they are cooked, drain all the water off, peel and mash with most of the butter while hot.

6. Meanwhile place the milk in a saucepan with the peas and spring onion and boil for 4 or 5 minutes, until cooked. Add the parsley and take off the heat then beat in to the potatoes, keeping some of the milk back in case you do not need it all. Season to taste and beat until creamy and smooth, adding more milk if necessary. Serve piping hot with the remaining butter melting in the centre.

7. Carve the gammon into thick slices and serve alongside the champ and sauce.

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