Fava Beans, Ham, and Parsley Sauce

November 11, 2010 · 6 comments

Fava Beans, Ham, and Parsley Sauce

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.


Andrea November 13, 2010 at 12:05 am

Frozen edamame.

David November 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Good idea.

Claire November 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Cabbage, for a truly Irish experience.

David November 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I don’t think the parsley sauce would go with the cabbage.

JC November 26, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Sounds (shhheeeeieh) delicious. Were the beans tender enough to render up their essence? Did you eat them with a nice chianti?

David November 28, 2010 at 11:02 am

Chianti doesn’t go well with salty ham.

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