What do you do when you find a recipe that looks good but requires leftovers from a more complicated dish? You fake the leftovers. At least that’s what I did when I saw this recipe from The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating. It’s simplicity itself:
Gently warm the chunks of ham in the broth it was boiled in yesterday. Boil the beans in the ham broth. When cooked, drain and place the beans in a dish, nestle the warm ham into the beans, pour the hot parsley sauce on the ham and beans, and eat straightaway. A joy!
My challenge was to replicate the boiled ham and ham broth without actually making a brined boiled ham. Fortunately, the Belm Utility Research Kitchen Deep Storage Facility came to the rescue once again. I found two ham bones (for the split pea soup I’ll never make) as well as the bone from a pork shoulder that was turned into a porchetta. I tossed them in a pot along with some ham rind scraps and added water to cover.
After an hour, I added two celery stalks, two leeks, three bay leaves, ten whole peppercorns, and two onions studded with four cloves each.
After many hours of simmering, skimming, and straining, I had my ham broth.
I assembled the rest of my ingredients: three quarters of a cup of flour, seven tablespoons of butter, two and a half cups of milk, a ham steak cut into chunks, about half a cup of chopped curly parsley, and about a cup of blanched and peeled fava beans.
I melted the butter, stirred in the flour, cooked until it smelled “biscuity” (according to Fergus Henderson), then whisked in the milk to make a basic bechamel.
I warmed up the ham chunks in the broth, followed by the fava beans.
To finish, I thinned out the bechamel with a few ladles of the broth, then added the parsley.
As recommended at the beginning of this post, I placed the beans in a bowl, added the ham chunks, then topped everything off with the parsley sauce.
We all loved this dish, nice hearty fare on a cold night. I have leftover parsley sauce and no shortage of ham steaks, so I’ll need to find a substitute for out-of-season fava beans so I can make the dish again.