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Festive Gammon in a wine bath

Cleopatra bathed in milk

it gave her skin like silk

Did she know what wine could do

she would opted for a glass or two!

Festive gammon spending time

in a beautiful bath of wine

promises traditional flavour and a lovely pink

all offered by a spectacular drink.


4 kg gammon

2 white onions, sliced into quarters

4 bay leaves

2 bottles Leopard’s Leap Classic Chardonnay Pinot Noir

1 litre water

For the glaze

2 tablespoons apricot jam

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon pork rub – 1tablespoon crushed juniper berries, ½ teaspoon cinnamon

and 1 tablespoon cloves

500 ml water


Place the gammon in its netting into a large saucepan with the wine and water.

Add the onion and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a very gentle simmer.

Cook for 3 hours.

Lift the gammon from the bath and place onto a cutting board. Allow to cool completely as quickly as possible.

Place the gammon in a cold draft.

When completely cool, separate the skin from the fat layer with your fingers.

Use a sharp knife to score the fat layer into diamond shapes.

Preheat the oven to 250 ˚C.

To make the glaze, pour 100 ml of water into a saucepan with the sugar and apricot jam. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pork rub and mustard and simmer gently to release the flavours from all the spices.

When the glaze has thickened, use a pastry brush to glaze the scored gammon.

Place the gammon into a deep baking-tray with the rest of the water. This is crucial to prevent the gammon from drying out and burning.

If the fat layer is all around the gammon, remember to keep turning the gammon so that all the fat faces the grill. Continue to glaze the gammon every 10 minutes.

If you are serving the gammon straight from the oven, allow the gammon to stand for 10 minutes before carving into thin slices. This allows all the juices to settle.

The gammon is also delicious served cold or at room temperature.

Serves 10 – 12.


– Cooking times are 25 minutes per 450 g for a gammon of 3,5 kg and 20 minutes per  450 g for smaller gammons.

– If you store the ham correctly it can last a few weeks in the fridge. However, the fat needs to be completely removed. Cover the ham in a damp cloth and not in plastic – the latter will make it sweat.

Wine pairing

Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc is the ideal partner to tangy, smoked or cured flavours.

Bay leaf

Symbolising good luck, bay leaves are traditionally used to ward off evil. Ancient Greeks and Romans crowned victors with wreaths of laurel – the origin of the tradition at the Olympic Games.

The bittersweet, spicy leaves impart a base of earthy flavours to a variety of dishes. Essentially bay leaves help to lay the foundations to dishes by forming part of the classic bouquet garni which includes thyme, rosemary, parsley and celery.

The herbs are then wrapped in the dark green part of a leek and tied tightly with string. Used in preparing stocks, soups, stews, sauces and pickling.


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