Jambon persillé

Serves 6-8
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Indy Lifestyle Online

A classic dish on all traiteur counters in France. It's not too difficult to make and will keep for a week or so. It's perfect with some crusty baguette, Dijon or Moutarde de Meaux and, of course, crunchy tangy little cornichons. Try making in time for Christmas and serve on Boxing Day with the cold turkey.

1 ham hock weighing about 1kg or a ham joint weighing about 700g and soaked if necessary
A few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 sticks of celery
10 black peppercorns
To set the ham
12g (4 sheets) of gelatine
2tbsp chopped parsley

Put the ham joint into a large saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 2 hours, until the ham is tender. Check to see if the water needs topping up. Cooking time will vary according to the cut and size of the ham (most pre-packed hams will come with cooking times on the packet). Remove the ham from the liquid and leave to cool.

For a ham this size you will need to remove about 1/3 litre of the cooking liquid to set it. A hock will generally produce more natural gelatine than a leaner joint so add a third less gelatine – around 3 sheets instead of 4 – if you are using a hock.

Soak the gelatine leaves in a shallow bowl of cold water for a minute or so until soft. Squeeze out the water and add to the hot cooking liquor with the parsley, and stir until dissolved. Leave somewhere to cool but do not let it set. Meanwhile trim off fat and cut the ham into rough 1cm cubes. Put the meat into either a suitable-sized terrine mould or a rectangular container. When the jelly is cool pour it over the ham until just covered (you may have some extra left which you can discard) and give it a stir with a spoon. Cover with clingfilm and leave to set in the fridge overnight.

To serve, dip the terrine into a bowl of boiling water for about 15 seconds and turn it upside down on to a chopping board. With a carving knife cut it into 2cm-thick slices and serve on to plates or alternatively scoop straight from the mould with a large spoon.