Cherry Cola Baked Gammon with Slow-cooked Greens and Candied Sweet Potato

For an unusual meal try Paul Bloxham's sweet cola gammon, served with marshmellowy sweet potatoes and greens... it works!
By Paul Bloxham
Cherry Cola Baked Gammon with Slow-cooked Greens and Candied Sweet Potato
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus 1 hr cooling
  • Effort: medium



  • 4 ham hock, preferably free range
  • 1 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 1 leeks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1000 ml cola
  • 200 g cherry jam
  • 75 ml orange juice
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau

For the candied sweet potatoes

  • 300 g sweet potatoes, quartered
  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g brown sugar
  • 150 g miniature marshmallows, chopped
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg

For the slow-cooked greens

  • 500 g curly kale, or winter greens
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 ml ham stock, warm from the pot
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 2 good sized knob butter


1. To cook the gammon hocks, place them in a large saucepan with the carrot, onion, leek, bay leaf, thyme and celery, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 and a half hours. Set aside to cool in the cooking liquor.

2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6. Trim the rind and excess fat from the hocks (reserving the ham stock), leaving a reasonable layer of fat. With a sharp knife, score the fat in a diamond pattern. Place the hocks in large roasting pan and sprinkle with the allspice. Pour the cola into the pan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes, basting from time to time with the juices.

3. In a saucepan, combine the cherry jam, orange juice, and orange liqueur over a medium heat and cook, stirring, until thick. Remove the hocks from the oven and brush the top and sides with the cherry reduction. Return the ham to the oven and bake for 15 minutes more, brushing with the juices once or twice until golden in colour.

4. Meanwhile, cook the candied sweet potato. Grease a 23 x 33cm baking dish. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and boil until slightly underdone, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and peel.

5. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, 100g of the marshmallows, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows are melted. Stir the sweet potatoes into marshmallow sauce. While stirring mash about half of the potatoes, and break the others into bite-sized chunks. Transfer to prepared dish.

6. Bake in the oven at 200ºC/gas 6 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover top evenly with remaining marshmallows. Return to the oven and bake until marshmallows are golden brown.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the greens. Wash the greens thoroughly two or three times, to remove the grit, until the water runs clear. Dry the leaves thoroughly and tear them into large pieces.

8. Place a large sauté pan over a high heat and add the olive oil, onion, garlic and bay leaves and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown.

9. Pack in the greens, pushing them down into the pan. Add the stock, vinegar and sugar. Bring up to a boil turning the greens over occasionally with a wooden spoon as they wilt.

10. Lower to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 35 minutes over a low heat. Check the seasoning and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste along with the butter. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

11. Remove the ham from oven and allow it to rest before serving it with the candied sweet potatoes and the slow-cooked greens.

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