Pressure Cooked Ham in Apple Juice

Is it better to boil gammon or roast it? Several years ago, we did an unscientific experiment with a large gammon cut into smaller ones and cooked different ways. The conclusion was to boil then roast to finish. This makes a great presentation— fat studded with cloves and a brown sugar and mustard glaze — but not so good for the next day. Pressure cooking in apple juice produces a sweet and moist gammon with a mahogany finish that can be used in many recipes. NOTE: Prepare the gammon the night before. I have to apologize to my American readers because gammon is a product that is only readily available in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is the hind leg of a pig where the ham is sourced but uncooked and brined, so it’s slightly salty. The recipes that follow using gammon as a leftover can easily be substituted for cooked ham.

uncooked gammon, 3-5 lbs/1.3-2.25 kg
2 cups (500 ml) cloudy apple juice 
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns

The night before, you want to cook the gammon/ham. Remove all the packaging and most of the fat. Record the weight. Since this is not roasted, the fat will not be very appetizing out of the pressure cooker. Rinse the meat and then — this is the challenging part — find a pot large enough to fit in your fridge and hold the meat covered with water. Cover the meat with cold water and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, pour off the water and move the meat to the pressure cooker. Add the apple juice, bay leaves, and peppercorns.

There are several factors to consider when selecting the time to cook the meat. The first is the pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI). Most pressure cookers are designed to run at 15 PSI, but some of the electronic, multi-function devices like the Instant Pot run at 10 to 12 PSI. For my electric pressure cooker, I use 11 minutes per 500 kg (approximately 1 lb). If your meat is large or your cooker runs at a lower pressure, use 15 minutes. One trick is to cut the meat in half to create more surface area to accept heat and to ensure the centre is cooked. When the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure decrease naturally. Do not use the pressure release.

Here are some example timings. For my 15 PSI pressure cooker, a 3 lb (1.3 kg) uncooked gammon took 10 minutes to come up to pressure, then 35 minutes to cook and 10 minutes to depressurize. For my Instant Pot at high pressure, a 4.4 lb (2.0 kg) uncooked gammon took 8 minutes to come up to pressure, then 60 minutes to cook and 25 minutes to depressurize.

The meat at the centre should be 160°F/71°C when cooked. Rest at least 10 minutes after removing from the pressure cooker before serving.

Serve with cauliflower mash and cooked cabbage (see index for recipes) and a nice whole grain mustard.

Buy in UK / Buy in USA

Here are the amazing recipes from
Leftovers By Design”
that use this lovely ham…

  • Crustless Ham and Broccoli Quiche

    Crust – who likes that stuff anyway. Use mushrooms with flavour like chestnut.

  • Ham Pizza with Chickpea Flour Crust

    Finally, a thin and crispy crust that will hold a good quantity of toppings and can be eaten in your hand like pizza should be, but not made with wheat flour. This recipe uses onions, mushrooms, and ham, which is a personal favourite.

  • Ham, Pea and Pearl Barley Risotto

    Pearl barley is not just a substitute for rice but a healthy replacement. The main drawback is the cooking time, which is much longer for pearl barley, unless you use a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. To replace the starch you normally get from rice, this recipe uses a pea puree that adds a lovely sweetness. Makes four 2-cup (500 ml) bowls.

  • Ham and Egg Fried Rice

    This is the first recipe I ever made in a microwave oven over 30 years ago. This version has been adapted for the stove, but it is a delicious, quick, and filling meal using store cupboard and leftovers. The rice I use is made from konjac flour, but this recipe also works with a cooked packet of microwave rice.

  • Cassoulet sans canard

    Quick cassoulet without the duck, unless you have some confit duck legs, then chuck them in. The roasted garlic really makes this taste fantastic. The recipe takes about an hour to make, but compared to four to six hours for authentic cassoulet, this is quick.

  • Ham Broccoli Cauliflower and Cheese Crepes

    By steaming the vegetables first, the crepes do not get overcooked in the oven and are crisp and covered with melted cheese. The whole grain mustard gives the crepes a nice kick, but it’s not as sharp as yellow mustard. If you can get Colby-Jack cheese then use that instead.

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