Candied roast ham with cranberry & star anise sauce

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only

Add a festive, sticky and zesty glaze to ham, then serve with a sharp cranberry sauce which cuts through the smoky meat

  • Prep:25 mins
    Cook:3 hrs 45 mins
    plus cooling
  • Serves 12
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 610
  • fat 32g
  • saturates 13g
  • carbs 31g
  • sugars 30g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 48g
  • salt 6.2g


  • 4kg smoked bone-in ham trimmed and skin left on (see tip)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 star anise
  • small pack thyme
  • 1 tbsp white peppercorns
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • pared zest 1 orange
  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground mace
  • 175g clear honey
  • 500ml ham stock (from the soaking liquid in step 1)
  • 2 star anise
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 50g fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
  • zest and juice ½ orange


Buying ham and soaking

When it comes to buying pork, I would only ever go British, as it supports our farmers and guarantees a high standard of animal welfare. It’s up to you whether you buy smoked or unsmoked ham, but I prefer the flavour of smoked. Some people find smoked ham too salty, in which case you will need to soak it to get rid of excess saltiness. It’s best to ask your butcher to advise on this. To soak, simply leave the ham in a large pan or bowl of cold water overnight, then discard the water and carry on as stated.

How to cook it

Boiling a ham this size calls for a large pan, such as a stockpot or preserving pan. If you don’t have a pan big enough, you’ve got a couple of options. You could buy a 3kg boned and rolled ham, which will be smaller but will take the same amount of time to cook and feed the same number of people. Alternatively, you could slow-roast the ham. To do this, heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Sit the ham in a roasting tin and pour over 600ml water. Add the aromatics, cover tightly with foil and bake for five hours. Cool and continue from step 2 of my recipe.


If you want to reheat any leftover ham, try mixing water, butter and a few herbs together in a pan to make an emulsion, then place thick slices of ham in it to warm through.


  1. Put the ham in a large, deep pan (see tip) and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off any impurities. Add the bay leaves, star anise, thyme, peppercorns, white wine vinegar and orange zest. Simmer for 3 hrs, then turn off the heat and leave the ham to cool in the water.

  2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Remove the ham from the pan, reserving the stock. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut away the skin, leaving a good layer of fat. Score the fat all over with as many long, fine cut marks as you can fit in. Mix the sugar and mace together. Put the ham in a large roasting tin and cover with half the mace-sugar mix, pressing it into the score marks. Drizzle over the honey, then press the rest of the mace and sugar on top. Roast in the oven for 30 mins, basting every 10 mins to form a dark caramel crust. Remove from the oven and rest for 30 mins.

  3. To make the sauce, pour the ham stock through a fine sieve until you have 500ml. Pour into a medium saucepan, add the star anise and reduce until thick and glossy. Add the butter and reduce until it emulsifies and becomes a thick sauce. Remove from the heat, stir in the cranberries, orange zest and juice, and check the seasoning. Slice the ham into thick slices and spoon over the sauce.

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