How to make Neven Maguire’s maple-glazed Christmas ham with Cumberland sauce

How to make Neven Maguire’s maple-glazed Christmas ham with Cumberland sauce

Plus a recipe for his mushroom and chestnut soup from tonight’s episode of Neven’s Christmas at Kylemore Abbey

Neven Maguire is hosting his Christmas Special from Kylemore Abbey in Connemara.

Tue, 07 Dec, 2021 – 19:30

Neven Maguire is going big for his Christmas Special this year, taking over the gorgeous surroundings of Kylemore Abbey tonight on RTÉ One at 8.30 pm. 

As ever, Ireland’s favourite chef will be championing local produce and tonight he’ll be focusing on products from Connemara as he whips up dishes that can be made with ease as part of your Christmas feast. 

Kylemore Abbey is renowned for its traditional home-cooked food, and the traditional Benedictine welcome, making it the perfect location for this year’s two-part special, says Neven. 

“We chose Kylemore Abbey simply because it is so beautiful. We received such a warm welcome from everybody. I hope viewers will enjoy the many aspects of the Christmas specials, from Head Chef John O’Toole’s demonstration on how to spice your beef, and different glazes for the family ham, to the sweet delights of the Chocolate Factory.”

Maple glazed ham and cumberland sauce

This Christmas ham is delicious hot or cold

Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

4 hours 40 mins

Total Time

4 hours 50 mins


  • 3kg Quality Assured gammon (off the bone and skin on)

  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns

  • 1 tbsp whole cloves

  • For the glaze:

  • 200ml Irish whiskey

  • 200ml maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tsp ground allspice

  • For the cumberland sauce: 

  • Paired zest of 1 large orange, finely sliced

  • 100ml orange juice

  • Paired zest of 1 lemon, finely sliced

  • 50ml port

  • 150ml red wine

  • 35g caster sugar

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 3 tbsp redcurrant jelly

  • 125g fresh cranberries


  1. Weigh the gammon joint and calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes – a 3kg gammon should take about 3 hours. Place in a large saucepan along with the celery, onions, thyme & peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum. Once boiled, reduce the heat and simmer until completely tender, occasionally skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Drain and leave until it’s cool enough to handle. This can be cooked a day in advance and placed in the fridge overnight.
  2. For the glaze, place the whiskey in a pot with the maple syrup, redcurrant jelly, balsamic vinegar, and ground allspice. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and transfer to a jar until required. This can be made a week in advance.

  3. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/gas mark 2). Carefully peel away the skin, leaving the layer of white fat intact. Using a sharp knife, score the fat diagonally to make a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat and stud with whole cloves.

  4. Place the prepared cooked ham in a large roasting tin, lined with parchment paper. Brush a layer of the syrup all over the ham, reserving the remainder. Cook for 1-1½ hours, brushing over another layer of the glaze every 15 minutes until all the glaze is gone. Remove the cooked ham from the oven, transfer to a serving platter and leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

  5. To make the sauce, place the orange juice, port, red wine, caster sugar, ground ginger, mustard, and red currant jelly in a pot. Whisk to combine everything together. Heat until it comes to a boil and add in the fresh cranberries and stir to mix through. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the finely sliced orange and lemon zest. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge once cooled until needed.

Chestnut and wild mushroom soup

recipe by:Neven Maguire

You can make this Christmas soup ahead of time – it’s the perfect stress-free starter

Preparation Time

30 mins


  • 50g dried mixed wild mushrooms, crushed

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 450g peeled chestnuts (canned or vacuum-packed), chopped

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

  • 50ml Madeira wine

  • 1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock

  • 200ml cream

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • snipped fresh chives, to garnish

  • fresh micro herbs, to garnish


  1. Put the dried wild mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour 400ml (14 fl oz) of boiling water over to cover. Set aside for 20 minutes, until they have plumped up. Drain the mushrooms and gently squeeze dry, reserving the soaking liquid.

  2. Heat a large pan and add the oil. Add the chestnuts, the onion and drained wild mushrooms and sweat gently for 10 minutes, until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

  3. Add the thyme to the pan with the reserved soaking liquid, madeira wine and the stock, stirring to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and allow to heat through for 1 minute, then whizz with a hand-held blender until as smooth as possible.

  4. Season to taste, then blend again unti

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