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Theodora FitzGibbon’s ham in Guinness with apple sauce

The recipe itself includes a lot more sophistication than its title infers. The ham simmers atop a bed of root vegetables flavored with lemon and black treacle as well as the Guinness: The sauce includes celery, ginger and clove in addition to the apple. The collation manages the contradictory feat of tasting both hearty and bright. To serve between six and eight, depending.

our-best-ham-b-W.gifFor the ham:

  • about 1 lb peeled root vegetables cut into biggish uniform chunks (any combination of carrot, celeriac, parsnips, turnip…. )
  • a peeled and quartered onion
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon black treacle (or molasses or deep brown sugar)
  • some peppercorns
  • water
  • about 10 oz Guinness


For its sauce:

  • 1 lb peeled, cored and sliced apples
  • 3 chopped celery stalks
  • about ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 or 3 cloves
  • scant cup water or, better, dry hard cider


  1. Choose a pot just big enough to hold the ham and vegetables. Embed the vegetables evenly in the pot, dump the ham on top and add the hemisphere of lemon along with the treacle and the peppercorns.
  2. Add the Guinness along with enough cold water nearly to cover the ham and slowly bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat “to the merest glimmer” for about 25 minutes per pound of ham.
  3. Add the Guinness for the last half hour of the total cooking time. When you do, return the pot to the briefest boil before going back onto glimmermode.
  4. Meanwhile make the sauce. Throw everything into a pot and simmer until the fruit thickens and the sauce thickens. Serve the tart sauce with the sweetish ham.



-The original recipe omits the onion and does not offer cider as an option for the sauce. It also soaks the ham overnight, no longer a necessary precaution unless your ham is something preternaturally salty.

-For an unknown reason the original recipe also defers addition of the Guinness until the last half hour of cooking.

-Take care not to over water or cider your sauce; it should be thick. You could puree it if you like but the Editor prefers retaining the contrasting texture of the celery.

-Bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra, a stronger, more robustly flavored cousin of the standard bottled stout, now are widely available and worth finding. Foreign Extra tastes like Guinness tasted back in the 1970s, the way it should taste instead of the diluted version that standard Guinness has become in deference to the demand for ever blander drink perceived by the multinational brewers. At least they have given an opening to the craft beer movement.

-You might try porter or another stout instead of the Guinness but there is something somehow ineffably comforting about its presence.

-You may want some potatoes with your ham and sauce. Any appropriate variety simply boiled is best here.