Saturday, 27 October 2012

Roast Ham and an Orzotto with the leftovers

My paternal grandparents always ate their Sunday lunch on the dot at 12pm. They would then eat cold cuts and salad at teatime, I imagine every week for the whole of their married lives. My parents always had a less structured approach to mealtimes and what we ate and thus so do I. Recently, though, I seemed to have fallen into a routine on Sundays. Breakfast is usually a mid-morning heartier brunch compared with the rushed bowl of muesli, slice of toast or boiled egg eaten mid-week. This gives me lots of time on Sunday morning for a little lazy kitchen tinkering and slow-roasting in between reading the newspaper. 

Increasingly, I also look to my Sunday joint to work harder and provide the family with hearty, tasty meals in the bleak midweek. Here I feel we are harking back to the traditions of my grandparents which are quite different from my own mother's approach. At the Sunday dinner table, she will (forcibly) encourage the eating of second and third helpings because she 'doesn't do leftovers', whereas I see them as a challenge to think up new recipes to make the leftover meal as exciting in its own right as the foundation recipe from which it hailed. 

Last week, my husband picked up this ham at the shop for our Sunday roast. I like ham but I would always pick up lamb, pork or chicken first. My husband loves ham, it reminds him of his grandmother's; she would serve it with simple boiled potatoes, peas and parsley sauce. Here, though, I decided to roast my ham with cider and apples and serve it with honey and butter roasted autumnal vegetables - I hope not too disappointingly. The leftovers lasted us the week in the form of the orzotto below, a minestrone soup, pasta with beans, peas, ham and pesto, and last (but certainly not least) delicious ham sandwiches slathered with English mustard. Each dish as delicious as the first.

Cider Roast Ham

2 kg. gammon joint
250 ml. sweet cider
1 onion
3-4 garlic cloves
3-4 bay leaves
Olive oil

Soak your gammon joint in water overnight to remove some of the saltiness. Drain off the water and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 190°C . Peel and slice the onion into rings. In a frying pan, melt a knob of butter with a glug of olive oil and soften and lightly caramelize the onion slices. Place the onion in the bottom of a roasting tin or large casserole that fits the ham snugly. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and bay leaves. Place the ham on top of the onions and garlic, and pour the cider over the ham. Rub the ham with olive oil and season with pepper. Cover with a lid, if your tin has one, or use tin foil if not. Roast for 1 hour 45 minutes. 

After this initial cooking time, remove the lid, pour the cider and ham juices into a saucepan with the onions and garlic cloves. Skim the fat from the top of the cider juices and mix the fat with a couple of tablespoons of the cider juices and the honey. Use this to baste the ham from time to time during the remaining roasting time. Return the ham to the oven, lid off for a final hour of roasting.

For a delicious gravy remove the garlic cloves from their skins and blend them into the stock with the onions. Then take out some of the stock and thicken it with a little cornflour, leaving enough to make the delicious orzotto below.

Ham & Cabbage Orzotto

Enough for 4.

200g. pearl barley
1 litre of simmering ham or chicken stock
50 ml. of cider
150g. shredded ham
100g. cavolo nero (savoy cabbage or kale)
1 onion
2 garlic cloves

Olive oil & butter
A handful of parsley

Dice the onion then melt a knob of butter with a glug of olive oil in a saucepan or casserole with a lid. Add the onions and soften, this will take about twenty minutes. Crush the garlic and add it to the saucepan and soften for a couple of minutes. Follow with the barley, stirring for a couple of minutes and coating with the butter, oil and onions. 

Add the cider and boil down until almost all the liquid has disappeared and then add the stock. Cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes-1 hour the barley should have softened but still have a little bite to it and most of the stock will have been absorbed. Add the cabbage and the ham and cook for a further 8-10 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Taste and season with sea salt (you will not need this if you used the ham stock, it is plenty salty) and pepper. Serve garnished with the parsley.



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