1 x 5kg leg of ham, the best you can afford
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
6 Scotch bonnets, halved
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 stick of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 small leek, washed and roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
1/2 a bunch of fresh thyme
1 cinnamon stick
For the jerk marinade
6 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons allspice
1 tablespoon cloves
2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
8 Scotch bonnets, stalks removed
250ml dark rum
250ml malt vinegar
A small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
For the glaze
3/4 jar good-quality fine-cut marmalade
125ml golden rum
MethodPreheat oven to 180°C. Put the ham in a large roasting pan with all the poaching ingredients. Add enough water to come halfway up the side of the pan. Cover ham with tin foil (making a tent over the ham to allow steam to circulate) and bake in the hot oven for 2 hours or until pink and cooked through. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes, remaining covered.
While your ham poaches prepare the jerk marinade. Add the bay and your dry spices to a food processor with your garlic cloves. Give it a whiz so it forms a paste, then throw in onions and chillies and whiz for a few more minutes. The chillies have a fiery, almost apricoty, sweetness and will start making the seasoning really hot. Pour in the rum and malt vinegar and keep whizzing everything while you add the thyme. Once you’ve got a nice loose consistency your jerk marinade is ready.
Once your ham has finished poaching, transfer it to a roasting tray and let it cool a bit. While still warm, put your hand underneath the skin and gently pull it away from the meat, leaving the bit of the fat underneath attached. Then, with
a sharp knife, score ham by lightly making diagonal cuts across the leg.
Spoon jerk marinade over the pork and use the back of the spoon to smear it over the ham and into the scored fat. If you want to use your hands, use rubber gloves, because this marinade is hot! If you like, cover the meat in cling film and refrigerate it overnight but, as we’ve already poached this in some of the jerk seasonings, you can also cook the ham straight away.
Pour a small glass of water into the bottom of the roasting tray and put the ham in your preheated oven at 180°C for 2 hours. Baste it every half hour so it gets nice and dark. Once it comes out of the oven, scrape off a bit of marinade with a spatula. Spoon about of a jar of marmalade over the ham and pour a good swig of dark rum on top. Smear this mixture all over and let it drip down sides of the ham. Spoon juices off bottom of the tray and back over the ham. Put it back into the oven, at the same temperature, for 30 minutes, basting every 5 to 7 minutes. This is all about giving it a bit of love to create a shine and sweetness. When it’s lovely and dark, it’s ready!