Baked Bone-in Ham in Coca-Cola, serves 6-8
Make it for a crowd, for a special occasion (Thanksgiving anyone?) or just a family meal; this recipe is so easy and delicious you’ll want to make it again and again. It comes from Nigella Lawson’s wonderful tome How to Eat and like her I was so intrigued when I first heard about it that I had to try it. The addition of onions tempers the raw sweetness of the Coca-Cola, the cola/onion broth in turn infuses the ham with flavour and keeps it incredibly moist. Just be sure to use a good quality, bone-in-ham, preferably from your butcher. You will need:
• Bone-in ham, 5-6lbs
• Onions, 2 medium, peeled and halved
• Coca-Cola, 2 litre bottle (NOT diet coke)
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Place ham in a large roasting pan, add the onions and pour over the coke. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 2-3 hours or until the ham is completely heated through and steam is rising from the pan. Carefully transfer the ham to a chopping board (but do NOT throw away the juices) and allow to sit before carving.
When the cola broth has cooled down, remove and discard the onions. Cover and store the broth and any leftover ham, including the bone, for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Slow-simmered Navy Bean Soup, serves 4-6
The sweet broth left over from cooking the ham is too good to waste so here it forms the base of a delicious, hearty main-meal soup. I use canned beans rather than fresh as they are more tender and frankly because it makes less work. You will need:
• Leftover Coca-Cola broth, about 6 cups
• Ham bone with some meat attached
• Canned navy beans, 2 x 29oz cans (I used Eden brand)
• Vidalia sweet onion, 1 large *
• Carrots, 2 large
• Celery ribs, 2
• Bay leaves, 2
• Leftover ham
Pour the leftover cola broth into a large pot then add the ham bone and rinsed, drained canned beans.
Peel and chop the onion and carrots; trim then chop the celery and add the vegetables to the pot. Add bay leaves; season with salt and pepper. (The beans I used had no salt added so the soup needed a little more seasoning; adjust according to the brand you buy and to your personal taste.)
Simmer for an hour, uncovered, over medium-low heat. Shred a good handful of leftover ham then add to the pot and continue to cook for another hour or so until the soup has thickened slightly and the meat is literally falling off the ham bone. Remove the bone, shred the meat from it into the soup then season to taste again if necessary.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
* You might ask why I wouldn’t just use the leftover onion from the cola broth and it’s quite simply because after the ham has cooked, that vegetable has very little taste; the soup needs the full flavour of a fresh onion.