Roast Collar of Bacon with Blackened Crackling
Bacon joints are much easier to cook than they used to be, now that modern curing methods have eliminated the need for pre-soaking. You could also use a prime gammon joint for this recipe. Scoring and painting the skin with molasses or black treacle turns it into superb crackling.
Serves 4 (with leftovers for over the Christmas holidays)
|5 lb (2.25 kg) prime gammon joint, smoked or unsmoked|
|1 level tablespoon black treacle|
|sea salt crystals|
|For the sauce:|
|1 large juicy orange|
|zest and juice of 1 lime|
|3 fl oz (75 ml) dark rum|
|3 oz (75 g) raisins|
|4 oz (110 g) soft dark brown sugar|
|1 slightly rounded teaspoon arrowroot|
|Preheat the oven to gas mark 9, 475°F, (240°C).|
|Need help with conversions?|
You will also need a solid, medium, shallow roasting tin.
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 1¼-2 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 English Cumberland Sauce (see link below).
Note: If you have a larger or smaller piece of bacon (or gammon), calculate 25 minutes per lb (450 g) total cooking time.
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Serve this very English classic with sausages, roast meats, cheese… just about anything you like really.
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