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baking Irish
 Baked Christmas Ham Recipe-20497

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


This recipe comes from Barbara Workman of Gray Abbey, County Down (grandmother of food writer Caroline Workman, now of East Cork). I first encountered the recipe in “Ditty’s Digest,” the newsletter of the northern Irish baker Robert Ditty. He notes that this ham is “delicious hot with parsley sauce” and baked potatoes or in a “doorstop sandwich” (made with a single long loaf of bread and then cut into individual sandwiches) with butter and honey mustard.

Yield: Serves 20 to 24


  • 1 whole 10- to 15-lb/5 to 7.5 kg ham
  • 20 to 24 cloves
  • 1 bottle Guinness stout
  • 2 cups/400 g dark brown sugar, plus more as needed


Put the ham into a pot large enough to hold it with some room left over, then fill with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 3 hours, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface from time to time.

Preheat the oven to 475°F/250°C (Gas Mark 9).

Carefully remove the ham from the pot and pat dry, then peel off the skin, leaving a layer of fat. Stud the fat all over with cloves, spacing them as equally as possible.

Put the ham on a rack in a large roasting pan, drizzle with Guinness, then sprinkle brown sugar all over the ham, packing it down with your hands to form a crust. Add additional sugar if necessary to cover. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust is dark golden brown.

© 2009 Colman Andrews

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on using a 15-lb ham and 24 servings.

662kcal (33%)
42mg (4%)
0mg (0%)
0mcg RAE (0%)
219mg (73%)
8426mg (351%)
9g (43%)
26g (40%)
4mg (20%)

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