Gammon with Irish whiskey caramel sauce

Thick slices of tender bacon glazed with sugar and orange are served alongside creamy mash and a sweet whiskey sauce in Rachel Allen's Irish treat
By Rachel Allen
Gammon with Irish whiskey caramel sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1.5 kg gammon
  • About 30 cloves
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 1 orange, juice only
  • flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

For the Irish whiskey sauce

  • 225 g granulated sugar
  • 75 ml cold water
  • 225 ml hot water
  • 3-4 tbsp Irish whiskey

For the pea and spring onion champ

  • 1 kg Maris Piper potatoes, scrubbed
  • 50 g butter
  • 200 ml milk, (or if you want it really rich, use ¾ milk to ¼ cream)
  • 300 g shelled peas
  • 50 g spring onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. For the Irish whiskey sauce: put the sugar and cold water in a heavy-based saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil until the sugar caramelises, it should be a deep golden colour. Swirl the pan to keep the colour even but do not stir it or it will crystallise. Once it has caramelised add the hot water carefully (it may spit), then boil again for a few minutes to mix with the caramel. Leave to cool for a minute or so before adding the whiskey.

2. Put the gammon in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil, then pour off the water, fill up with fresh cold water and boil again. If there seems to be salt floating on the surface repeat again, but if there is not, then continue to boil for about 1 ½ hours or until the gammon is cooked and tender when pierced in the thickest part with a skewer.

3. For the pea and spring onion champ: bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then cook the potatoes for 5-10 minutes until just tender, drain ¾ of the water and continue to cook on a low heat until fully cooked. Avoid stabbing the potatoes with a knife - floury potatoes will break up if you do. Once they are cooked, drain off all the water and leave until just cool enough to handle.

4. Preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8.

5. Remove the gammon from the water and peel off the rind, leaving the fat attached. Score the fat into diamonds, and stud each diamond with a clove. Mix the brown sugar and just enough orange juice to make a paste and spread this paste over the fat. Put the gammon in an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for 15 -20 minutes or until the fat is deep golden and glazed, basting after 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes while they are still hot and mash with most of the butter. Place the milk in a saucepan with the peas and spring onion and boil for 4-5 minutes or until the peas are tender. Add the parsley and take off the heat, then beat into the potatoes, keeping some of the milk back in case you do not need it all. Season to taste and beat until creamy and smooth.

7. Leave the gammon to rest while you reheat the sauce and the champ. If necessary, add the remaining milk to the champ and beat well to mix.

8. To serve: carve the gammon into thick slices and place on 4 warm plates. Spoon over the sauce and serve with the champ that has the remaining butter melting in the centre.

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