Slow-Cooked Gammon

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Oh don’t you worry, the irony of calling myself ‘The Modern Wife’ while I am on maternity leave, doing (almost) all the washing, ironing and cooking, is not lost on me. As I sit here wondering if, while Ottilie is sleeping for about three and a half seconds, I can get the ironing done, have some breakfast (despite it being 2pm) or actually complete a blog post, I am fully aware that I am currently light-years away from my work-focused career driven self and living something akin to a Stepford life. Albeit with a much wider waistline and even shorter attention span than I had before, though the tendancy to malfunction is generally quite high.

It’s no longer 2pm – it’s now 10pm two days later…

This recipe is something I cook probably every other week and have done for a while now. I used to buy shredded ham in the supermarket for sandwiches to take to work, but the packet has shrunk so much and the price stayed the same that it’s just not worth it. For the record, this a really, really un-photogenic recipe, so I’m sorry in advance.

Makes enough for lunch for one all week in salads, sandwiches or wraps. Or probably 3 days worth of sandwiches for two, with a bit leftover to chuck in some pasta or an omelette.

You will need a slow-cooker for this recipe

The best time to do this is early evening so you can leave it overnight.

1 x small smoked gammon joint (usually sold in 750g portions)

2 x sticks of celery

3 x garlic cloves

1 x onion

1 x bouquet garni

Rosemary sprigs 

150ml cloudy apple juice (optional)

4 x whole peppercorns 

1 tsp mixed herbs 

1 tsp dried sage (optional)

You can add or remove some of the veg above, it’s totally up to you. I tend to use what’s lying around in my fridge and isn’t likely to get used up in a meal.

  • Roughly chop the vegetables in to large chunks and chuck them into the slow cooker, skins and all. No need to peel the veg – the skins add to the flavour
  • Snuggle the gammon in amongst the chopped vegetables
  • Fill with water until the ham is fully immersed.
  • Set the slow cooker to its hottest setting for 5-6 hours.
  • Once the 5 hours are up the cooker will stay warm until you switch it off. This is why I doing this early evening, then you can leave it overnight and switch it off in the morning
  • After around 12-14 hours in the slow-cooker switch it off at the wall and leave the gammon in the water to cool completely. I found that if I took it out while it was still hot it seized up and was tough and difficult to shred
  • Once cooled, remove the gammon from the cooker and place on a board. Remove any of the fatty outside – this doesn’t taste nice when it’s been slow-cooked! 
  • There are two ways of shredding the gammon. Either, take a couple of forks and shred it like they do in a Chinese restaurant with the crispy duck. Or, using your hands, separate the large parts of the meat and gently squash it in your fingers. You will see the way the meat falls apart and it will be easy to separate into large or smaller shreds depending on how you like it.

This is such good value, it costs around £4 and in the last week I have used it in 2 wraps, 1 breakfast, 1 salad, 2 dinners, some went into my husbands Sunday night pasta and I also adulterated a piece of cheese on toast with it.

Also – buy one of these things for your kitchen. Mum always uses one when she’s cooking steak at home, so I thought I’d give it a try. Somehow, without replacing it with a horrible vanilla and magnolia smell it dramatically reduces the smell of cooked ham when you go downstairs for your coffee in the morning!

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