This is classic comfort food. I remember my mother making it when I was a little girl and it’s always been a favourite. The ham will be sweet, juicy and tender and it’s a surprisingly light-tasting meal, not at all stodgy. Try to save some to eat cold next day!
Boiled Ham With Parsley Sauce
1 kg smoked gammon or ham, tied in a round
1 peeled onion, 2 sticks of celery and 2 peeled carrots, chopped
Stalks from a big bunch of parsley
6-8 black peppercorns
1-2 bay leaves
For the sauce:
The leaves from the bunch of parsley
50g plain flour
600-700 ml milk
Salt and pepper
(I like my sauce thick and with lashings of parsley. If you want it thinner, try 25g each of butter and flour and 500ml of milk)
Put the ham in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, put on a lid and bring to the boil. Drain and discard the water. This ensures the ham won’t be too salty. It also gets rid of any scum early on – you shouldn’t need to skim it later.
Add the vegetables, the stalks from the parsley, the bay leaves and peppercorns to the pan with the ham and cover with 50-50 apple juice and water.
Bring to the boil again, reduce to a simmer, partially cover with a lid and cook for about an hour.
While it’s cooking, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and gradually stir in the flour. Cook gently for a minute or so.
Gradually add the milk, stirring until smooth. Season and stir in at least a double handful of chopped parsley.
Drain the ham; check the stock and if it’s not too salty save it to make an apple and parsnip soup or the basis for a pork stew.
Allow the ham to rest for at least 10 minutes then carve it in thickish slices and serve with the parsley sauce.
Good with boiled potatoes and steamed cabbage or spring greens.