Nothing says Autumn like a hearty stew. Ham is one of my favourite things to cook as it makes for an excellent frugal Sunday lunch dish. Celeriac is in season at the moment and very cheap. It is an excellent (if ugly) ingredient. It is the root of celery and has a lovely subtle celery flavour, it pairs well with potato and can be used to make soup or an amazing gratin with cream and nutmeg (recipe soon!)
Not only is this dish cheap, it is also totally delicious and will last for a lunch then a supper the next day or can stretch, with side dishes (curly kale or savoy cabbage would be good) to feed 6. Brilliant.
The following recipe was inspired by a recipe in one of my favourite cook books, Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries for Ham with Butter Beans.
I often substitute any bean in a recipe with flagolet as I love their silky texture, light green colour, nutty flavour and how they stand up well to slow cooking . The picture below is courtesy of Delicious Magazine, click here to see their excellent tips on storing, soaking and using beans.
If you do not fancy the mash with this, just double the quantity of beans.
Gammon is the hind-quarters of the pig that typically uses the term ‘ham’. Ham ‘hock’ or ‘hand’ is also referred to as ham but this is the front leg and is normally sold on the bone. This is good for a large carving ham, suitable for Christmas or a big party. Nigel Slater states to use ‘boiling bacon’ in his recipe but I have never known the difference, even my lovely local butcher looked confused and offered gammon. Does anybody know the difference? Do let me know… His boiling bacon recipe does not require pre-soaking whereas I would always suggest this with gammon to rid it of it’s excess salt.
Soak your gammon overnight in water, the next day, put it in fresh water and bring to the boil. Discard water.
If you are using dried beans, soak these overnight too then boil for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until tender…and begin…
Ham with Flagolet Beans and Celeriac Mash
1.5kg unsmoked gammon
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp paprika
optional: 2-4 chorizo sausages sliced into chunks (the uncooked kind, not the pre-cooked slicing kind)
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
a few carrots or 1/4 of a butternut squash
1 tin or 200g dried flagolet beans
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Celeriac mash recipe below
Pre heat your oven to gas 4 or 180 degrees
Slice the skin off your gammon (don’t worry if it is uneven) now slice off the fat in one piece leaving a thin layer (you want this to crisp up in the final stage).
Heat oil in large oven-proof pan and add gammon fat, onions and chorizo if you are using it. The chorizo will seep it’s delicious paprika scented oil into the onions.
Peel and chop your carrots or squash into 1cm pieces
Once the onions are softened add thes carrots/squash to the pan with the thyme sprigs and all 4 garlic cloves whole. Stir to coat for a minute.
Remove the gammon fat from the pan and put to one side.
Add flagolet beans chopped tomatoes and 100ml water, stir to combine and bring to the boil.
Now push your gammon down into the bean sauce and tuck the fat in next to it. Put the lid on (or a double layer of foil) and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
In the last 30 minutes:
Remove from the oven and turn the gammon so the thin layer of fat you retained it visible above the sauce, leave lid off and return to the oven so the sauce can thicken and fat can caramelise.
Make your mash!
You want to make this as you would normal mashed potatoes just use 2/3 celeriac and 1/3 potatoes. I used 1/2 a small celeriac and 2 medium potatoes.
celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
potatoes, peeled and cut to roughly the same size as your celeriac chunks
salt and pepper
Peel your celeriac . Celeriac has a tough outer layer and you need to remove at least 5mm of the outer flesh to get to the pure white underneath otherwise you will get lumps when you mash. Peel it once, then peel it again.
Put your potatoes in cold water and bring to the boil, then add the celeriac
When both are soft to the point of a knife, drain and mash with butter and salt and pepper.
Serve with thick slices of the ham, and spoonfuls of the bean sauce.