ham in cola and cheese puffs with ham salad

cheese puffs with ham salad

Leftover ham can be a pain. We usually cook a ham for Christmas because it’s the one time of the year it’s so cheap (we got ours at 89 cents a pound!). The hubs and I also like keeping the ham bone for ham and pea soup in the new year. It’s been a running tradition. This year we almost didn’t get the ham because there wasn’t any people to cook for except ourselves. In the end we had another couple for Christmas and made the ham (yay!). The new camera hadn’t yet arrived by Christmas day so I couldn’t take any nice pictures of it. We used a Nigella Lawson recipe this year – Ham in Cola. I had previously made the ham in cola back home in Singapore and it was very well received. We couldn’t find a mild cured gammon (very European…) so we just used a normal city ham and it turned out well. You just need to make sure you have a pot big enough to fit the ham in. We bought the smallest bone-in ham we could find (9.5 pounds). Another advantage of this recipe is that most of the cooking is done on the stove so you can use your oven to do other things like roast vegetables and bake the corn pudding – both of which I had to do. You only need to put the ham in for 10-20 minutes at the end to give the glaze a nice char. Recipe below, adjust the amount of ingredients needed depending on the size of your ham. We had to double the recipe. My comments are in red.

Ham in Cola

(Recipe by Nigella Lawson, taken from here)


For the Ham:

  • 1 (4 1/4 to 4 1/2-pound) bone in ham
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut in 1/2
  • 1 (2-liter) bottle cola (recommended: Coca-Cola)

For the Glaze:

  • 1 handful cloves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon molasses (I used more, enough to cover the outside of the ham)
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara (raw cane sugar) or granulated brown sugar (I used more, enough to cover the outside of the ham)


To make the ham: Peel and cut 1 onion in half. To a large pot or Dutch oven, place ham, the onion and pour over top, the 2 liter bottle of coca-cola. On a medium-high heat, allow to cola to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover, not tightly with lid, and allow to cook for 2 1/2 hours. It is 1 hour for every 2 pounds. (I used a probe thermometer to monitor the temperature of the ham. I cooked the ham till the internal temperature was 135°F to 140°F).

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

For the Glaze:

Pull the ham from the pot, and allow to rest on a cutting board reserving the cooking liquid. Using a sharp knife, trim the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat on the ham. Using the knife, score the fat diagonally into large diamond cut.. In each diamond pierce the fat with 1 clove. Spread the molasses over the meat. Gently pat the powdered mustard and sugar around the meat, so it sticks to the molasses. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Gently place the ham in the roasting pan. Cook the ham for about 10 minutes or until glaze is burnished and bubbly.

For braising the ham in advance and then letting the ham cool, take ham from the refrigerator, glaze it according to the recipe, and give it 30 to 40 minutes to sit at room temperature. Place in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, then turning up the heat if you think it needs a more crispy exterior.


We ate as much of the ham as possible for Christmas dinner but still had a lot of leftovers. The hubs and I usually have a number of ways to use up leftover ham, one of them being mac and cheese with ham. We had that for dinner the next day. I researched a number of other ways to use up the leftover ham and found a recipe for ham salad. I had made some cheese puffs the previous day and thought that a ham salad would be a nice way to stuff them. I was inspired by an ex-student’s mom and her choux puffs stuffed with chicken pot pie filling – very delicious!

I browsed through a couple of ham salad recipes before settling on this one. I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand and made a couple of substitutions. The ham salad turned out very well and the hubs loved it. I have another cheese puff (or gougères) recipe on the blog, both would work well.

Ham Salad

Makes enough filling to stuff 12 cheese puffs

(adapted from here)


  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped/diced ham
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise (I just use enough to coat the other ingredients)
  • 1/4 cup diced pimento, or pickles (I used something called Sweety Drop. It’s a miniature pepper that is very mild in flavour).
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients and season to taste.
  2. Stuff inside prepared cheese puffs or normal choux pastry. You can also have this with bread or mix this with pasta.

Cheese Puffs or Gourgères

Makes about 24 cheese puffs

(taken from Ratio, by Micheal Ruhlman, p. 47-48)


  • 8 ounces water
  • 4 ounces butter (1 stick)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 4 ounces flour
  • 8 ounces eggs (or 4 large eggs)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Gruyere


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Bring the water, butter and salt to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour, and stir rapidly. The flour will absorb the water quickly and a dough will form and pull away from the sides. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour and cook off some of the water, another minute or two.
  3. Remove your pan from the heat and let it cool slightly, a few minutes. The paste needs to be warm to hot but not too hot that the eggs will cook.
  4. You can do this step by hand or in a stand mixer. Add the eggs in one at a time. The paste will go from shiny to flat, slippery to furry, when the eggs are fully in.
  5. Add in the cheese.
  6. On a parchment or Silpat, spoon out or pipe golf ball sized portions.
  7. Wet your finger with water or milk to smooth out the tops. Peaks can burn.
  8. Place the puffs in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350ºF and cook for 10-20 minutes longer, until done. Taste or cut into one to check if they are done. My puffs took about 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and filling them.
  10. You can also freeze the puffs and use them when needed. To reheat, place in microwave first for about a minute before transferring to the toaster oven.

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