- 2kg (4½lb) boned, unsmoked uncooked ham
- 1.5 litres (2¾pt) dry Suffolk cider, plus enough water to cover
- 3 bay leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- 20g (¾oz) butter
- ½ onion, very finely chopped
- 20g (¾oz) flour
- 150ml (¼pt) chicken or vegetable stock
- 200ml (7fl oz) milk
- 2tbsp double cream
- juice ½ lemon
- large handful curly parsley, finely chopped (around 6tbsp)
Place the ham in cold water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain all the water away and rinse the ham. Put back in the cleaned pan with the cider, bay and peppercorns and enough water to cover the ham, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Remove from the liquid (keep it to use as a delicious stock for soups), and pat the skin dry with kitchen roll. Heat the oven to 230 C, 210 C fan, 450 F, gas 8. Make diagonal slashes in the skin, sprinkle with salt and place the ham in a roasting tin, with the meat covered with foil so only the skin is exposed.
Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the skin has crackled. Leave the ham to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing thinly, and serve with the parsley sauce.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook without colouring for 5 to 10 minutes until softened, then stir in the flour and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Mix the stock and milk, and gradually add it into the butter and flour mix, stirring with a balloon whisk. When all the liquid is added you should have a thickish sauce. Stir in the double cream and lemon and season to taste. You can freeze the sauce at this point, or chill it for up to 24 hours, but only add the parsley just before serving so it doesn't discolour.
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