Saturday, 1 November 2014

Ham pie and ham soup

The background is that I was staying with Mum and Dad.  Mum's a great cook, makes lovely traditional food, always cooks too much, loves to feed people . . . you get the idea, I am sure
The first night I was there she cooked a baked ham.  A gorgeous, long, lean, easily sliced ham (from Morrison's which, in my opinion, has the best reasonably priced and easily available hams around).

SO - first night we had it sliced with a sweet and sour sauce.  Next day we had it with a salad for lunch.  Third day we had ham sarnies for lunch.

Then we had ham pie for dinner.  I made the innards like this.

Some shop bought puff pastry (Mum's not daft!)

Some oil or butter (preferably unsalted)
A thick slice of ham, torn into chunks by hand, all visible fat removed.
One onion, peeled and chopped
Half a yellow pepper, chunked
Half a parsnip, peeled and chopped
Three mushrooms, sliced
a medium potato, peeled and chopped (an afterthought as the sauce was rather salty but it worked really well)
Ham stock (from cooking the ham, just make sure it's not too salty!)
Some mustard powder
Some mixed herbs
Some flour to thicken
pepper (no salt needed)

What I did
Heat some oil or butter in a pan.  Add the onion, parsnip and potato, stir well, turn the heat right down and gently saute (covered) until the vegetables are softening.

Add the yellow pepper and the mushrooms and continue to saute for a few more minutes.

Remove the veg from the pan with a slatted spoon, if possible, and set aside.

Mix some plain flour with some oil or unsalted butter to make a roux.  Put it in the pan and cook it out for a few minutes, stirring constantly.  Make sure it doesn't catch.  Add the ham stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring well (I used a whisk) and continue to heat to thickening point.
You are aiming for a thick-ish sauce.
Add the mustard powder, pepper (I used white pepper for this) and the herbs and stir in well.
Add the vegetables and the chunks of ham and continue to simmer it all.  Keep tasting and keep your fingers crossed that it isn't too salty - it shouldn't be with the potato in it.

I have to admit that at this point I would eat it just as it is but Mum used it as the filling for a pot pie and we ate it with peas and carrots.  She only used a bit of the sauce in the pie; the rest she just diluted a bit and used as gravy.

Me?  I would add rice or orzo when I added the meat and veg to a thinner sauce and simmer it until it was cooked, the starch creating its own thickness.  A sort of not-in-any-way-a-risotto!

There was some filling left, also some gravy, peas and carrots so we piled it all into one pot and it made soup the next day for lunch.  We just zizzed it all up and slackened it a bit with some milk because it was very thick.  Gorgeous.

And there was still some ham to slice.  It was quite a joint!

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