Roast Collar of Bacon with Blackened Crackling
This is what I always traditionally cook on Christmas Eve because not only is it exquisite served hot or cold with all its crunchy crackling and my favourite English sauce, it also sees us through the rest of the holiday served cold alongside turkey and other cold cuts. However, in one go, on its own, it will serve 12 people.
This recipe is from Delia's Happy Christmas Serves 4 (with leftovers for over the Christmas holidays)
First of all, using a very sharp, pointed knife, score the skin in a criss-cross pattern making little ½ inch (1 cm) diamonds.
This is quite easy to do if you insert the tip of the knife only, then holding the skin taut with one hand, drag the tip of the knife down in long movements.
To cook the gammon: warm the molasses or black treacle slightly (if it's very cold), then use a pastry brush to coat all the little diamonds of skin lightly. After that sprinkle the skin with salt crystals, pressing them well in.
Now place the gammon in a roasting tin, skin-side upright (if it won't stand up straight, use a couple of wedges of foil to keep it in position).
Place the roasting tin in the oven, and after 25 minutes turn the heat down to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C). Then continue to let the gammon cook for 1¾-2 hours – it should feel tender all the way through when tested with a skewer.
After it comes out of the oven, give it at least 30 minutes' resting time, covered with foil, in a warm place. Serve with the Cumberland Sauce (see related recipe below).
Note: If you have a larger or smaller piece of bacon (or gammon), calculate 25 minutes per lb (450 g) total cooking time.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 9, 475°F, (240°C).
You will also need a solid, medium, shallow roasting tin.