Australia's best butcher reveals how to make the Christmas ham

How to make the perfect Christmas ham: The country’s most awarded butcher spills his secret glaze recipe – and the best way to use leftovers

  • Adam Stratton is the owner of Tender Gourmet Butchery chain around Sydney 
  • He is Australia’s most awarded butcher and part of the ‘Butchery Olympics’
  • With Christmas only a week away he has shared his glazed ham recipe 
  • Adam has released stuffing, gravy and pork crackling tutorials for customers

Australia’s most celebrated butcher has shared his secret to glazing the perfect Christmas ham just in time for the special holiday, alongside tips on cooking turkey, making stuffing and nailing the ultimate gravy.

Adam Stratton is the owner of Tender Gourmet Butchery, a highly regarded chain of stores located in Hornsby, Bondi Junction, Warringah Mall, and Macquarie Centre.

As captain of the Australian team in the world ‘Butchery Olympics’ the 49-year-old certainly knows a thing or two about slicing and dicing the most popular meats to eat over the festive season. 

‘For the ham firstly peel the skin back from the fat before lightly scoring it,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

Adam Stratton is the owner of Tender Gourmet Butchery , a highly regarded chain of stores located in Hornsby, Bondi Junction, Warringah Mall, and Macquarie Centre

‘For the ham firstly peel the skin back from the fat before lightly scoring it,’ he told Daily Mail Australia

‘Coat it with your choice of marmalade – my favorite is the Hanks Marmalade. Cook at 180 degrees for one and a half to two hours to serve hot or alternatively cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes to serve cold.’

After Christmas the delicious leftovers can be turned into pea and ham soup with the hock or a simple, and delicious, ham and cheese toastie.

If you’ll be cooking turkey this year Adam suggests starting with two knobs of butter under the skin on top of the breast before stuffing it.

Adam’s favourite stuffing is one kilo of good quality pork sausage mince, fresh sage, dehydrated onion, breadcrumbs, finely diced bacon, finely diced red capsicum, finely sliced Granny Smith apple and salt and pepper to season. 

Now if it’s pork you’re looking to make for lunch the focus will need to be on making the crackling sing

Use a paper towel to dry the pork before using a high quality olive oil to cover the pork

‘The next step is to pull out the neck of the turkey and place it into another dish to use for the gravy,’ he said.

‘One of my top tips is to place your turkey upside down in your baking dish, as this ensures the breasts stay nice and moist without being overcooked and dry.   

‘Lastly I pour a carton of good quality chicken stock in the dish to poach the turkey while it cooks, again keeping it nice and moist. Loosely cover with foil.’

Standard turkeys around a size 40 will cook for 3.5 hours at 180 degrees. 

Every so often pull out the dish and brush the turkey with a blend of butter and maple syrup – that will give you a delicious glaze on the outside.   

Now if it’s pork you’re looking to make for lunch the focus will need to be on making the crackling sing.  

If you’ll be cooking turkey this year Adam suggests starting with two knobs of butter under the skin on top of the breast of the turkey before stuffing it

How do you make a good quality gravy?

A good quality bone broth, a turkey neck and the sediments from the bottom of the roasting pan with the juice from the roast. Flour to thicken. Keep it simple and use the flavors of the meat. 

‘Boil your kettle and pour the water over the rind. This will open the rind up where it’s been scored by the butcher,’ Adam suggested.

‘Use a paper towel to dry the pork before using a high quality olive oil to cover the pork. Rub a generous amount of sea salt into the groves – don’t be stingy.

‘Pop the pork into a baking dish with a little extra olive oil and cook for 20-30 minutes at 225 degrees. Bring your oven down to 180 degrees and cook for another 1.5 hours. Serve with apple sauce.’

Cooked chicken, pork, lamb or beef can be stored in the fridge for three days after Christmas before it will need to be thrown away.

To keep ham fresh pour two to three cups of water and one tablespoon of vinegar into a bowl and soak your ham bag. Place the ham inside and store in the fridge for up to three weeks. Repeat the soaking process every few days,’ he said. 

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