Archive recipe: Potted Cumberland Ham with Rosemary

Potted Cumberland Ham with Rosemary

Traditional Lakeland cooking with Mrs Simkins (January 2019)

The exterior of The Thornhill Arms, located in Yorkshire's Calverley


Serves 6–8 but easy to halve quantities

  • 300g (10z) cooked ham, minced
  • 50g (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6–12 rosemary needles, washed in hot water & rubbed dry, then chopped very finely
  • Freshly ground black pepper & grated nutmeg to taste

To finish:

  • Clarified butter (see below)
  • Small sprig of rosemary to garnish, washed as before


This tasty treat is based on an old Westmorland recipe: use Cumberland ham if available. It’s a handy idea for just after Christmas when there’s still plenty of ham to cut at, but it works well at any time of year.

Delicious on toast, oatcakes or crackers or in sandwiches, it works beautifully with a dab of damson chutney or relish on the side.

The original recipe instructs you to mince the ham twice. If you don’t have a mincer, use a food processor instead but don’t over-process as you need to retain some texture.

Make sure all your equipment is scrupulously clean before you start.



Combine minced or processed ham in a roomy bowl with pepper, nutmeg and chopped rosemary. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth or whiz carefully in a processor, making sure to retain some texture.

Pack into clean glass jars, check for air pockets and run clarified butter over the top to seal. Garnish with rosemary and chill. Stores for up to forty-eight hours in the fridge.

To clarify butter:

Cut 225g (8oz) unsalted butter into small pieces. 

Heat gently in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat until it spits and crackles and bubbles.

Remove pan from heat. Skim the froth off the top with a tablespoon.

Pour through a sieve lined with clean muslin or a disposable kitchen cloth into a clean lidded jar: avoiding any of the solids collected on the bottom of the pan.


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