This aromatic piece of meat will keep well, foil-wrapped in the fridge. It is ideal for a party or if you are feeding a lot of people over Christmas. You can cook any bacon or gammon joint in this way but collar is an economical cut. You can use smoked or green bacon, but I nearly always go for smoked meat because I prefer the flavour.
Soak the bacon in cold water for at least 3 hours or overnight, changing the water once or twice, to remove excess saltiness. Put the spices and peppercorns into a liquidiser or coffee grinder and whizz up until roughly ground. Mix them with enough black treacle to smear thickly all over the bacon joint. Wrap up well in two or three layers of foil. Put into a roasting pan and
Remove from the oven, unwrap, cut off the thick bacon skin while still hot and pour off any juices. Wrap again in foil, put heavy books or weights on top and leave to cool for 12 hours or overnight.
Then chill in the fridge and when you unwrap the foil sprinkle demerara sugar thickly all over the fat where the skin was taken off. As with most cold meats, this is most delicious if carved as thinly as possible.
© 1978 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.