This is one of the easiest meals I've ever made. It's almost not a recipe - chuck a few things in the pot, turn it on and go to work (or play).
Slow cooker gammon may not look glamorous, but add mashed potato and broad beans, a fried egg and chips, or macaroni cheese and you have one of the tastiest meals I can think of.
And, if you choose a big enough joint there is enough left for sandwiches, salads or to eat cold with any of the above accompaniments for a second day. It's always worth buying a bigger joint in my book.
Should you roast the gammon?
The only thing that makes a gammon joint better than this is to roast it for 30 minutes after it's cooked for about half the time. I do this at Christmas with a larger piece of gammon but the rest of the time I don't bother.
Roast meat has a denser texture than just boiling it (in the slow cooker or not), but for every day this slow cooker gammon is brilliant because it takes very little effort and it's very forgiving of an extra hour or two if you're running late.
Gammon or bacon?
The texture that you get is dependent on the joint that you buy. Strictly speaking, gammon is from the hind leg and is usually less fatty. Middle gammon will give you the best shape of joint for slicing but it's also the most expensive.
If you want a really large joint, you need gammon. You really want the meat to be dry-cured, which gives a closer texture. Some cheaper types of bacon that are wet-cured may have up to 10% brine injected without declaring it on the contents - so beware!
What's the best liquid to cook the gammon in?
I've used ginger ale for my cooking liquid. I tend to keep a litre bottle in, for just such an occasion. If I've only got cans, I would use 2 or 3 and make up the difference with hot water.
You could use 250ml apple juice and top up with hot water, or use cider. Either way, a bouquet garni - or just peppercorns, cloves and a bay leaf are all the extra flavour that's needed.
I have made this with water and a teaspoon or two of ginger powder and it's very nice - especially good if you want to avoid sugar.
What else can you do with a Slow Cooker?
I often forget about my slow cooker for months. Partly because it's not in sight, but also because I associate it with cold weather food and then forget altogether.
The easiest recipe of all though, is this Slow Cooker Gammon, so give it a go for a hot meal one day and cold ham another.
Which Slow Cooker?
My slow cooker is quite old now and has a ceramic dish that isn't dishwasher-proof. I suppose that makes it a Crock Pot. It also has rather a large footprint, so I thought I'd look at modern pots to see what's on offer.
Unfortunately, I was paralysed into inaction by the enormous choice available. When I first bought one, all I had to do was decide the make and size.
I went for the upmarket model that had an AUTO function, which starts off on HIGH and then switches to LOW. I cook almost everything on that. There isn't a timer, but that didn't ever bother me as things don't really overcook on the lower heat setting.
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Slow Cooker Gammon
- 2 kg gammon or bacon joint
- 1 litre ginger ale
- 1 bouquet garni
- 12 peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves
- Put the gammon joint and bouquet garni or herbs and spices in the slow cooker
- Heat the ginger ale in the microwave for about 4 minutes
- You want it to be hottish, definitely not boiling
- You can use 500ml ginger ale and 500ml boiling water
- Pour the ginger ale over the gammon
- Put the lid on and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours
Everyday Cooks tips:Gammon and bacon joints:
- Dry-cured gammon/bacon has a closer texture
- Wet-cured gammon/bacon is cheaper but may contain up to 10% injected brine without declaring it (in the UK and EU)
- Gammon is from the hind leg, bacon comes from anywhere else.
- A bigger joint, e.g. 2kg will give you enough for at least 2 days meals - one hot and one cold - with extra for sandwiches etc
- Fried egg and chips
- Mashed potato and broad beans
- Macaroni cheese
- Use cider instead of ginger ale OR
- 250ml apple juice and 750ml hot water OR
- 1 litre of water and 1-2 teaspoons ginger powder.