Rhubarb glazed gammon, spring veg and wild fennel bechamel
The other day I woke up and I just knew I wanted to cook something. The weather wasn’t terrible but summer was absent for sure and it was time for some comfort food. I wanted something very comforting but light, a nice big sharing plate on the table with everyone just tucking in. There is a butcher at the market and this time he had smoked gammon. It just looked so nice I couldn’t resist it. It threw all of my other plans aside but I thought a nice sauce and lots and lots of spring veg would make a nice dinner.
I got some new potatoes and some carrots and set off to the allotment to see what else I could find. We can pick some vegetables already, the bok choy is growing like crazy, the rhubarb is incredibly plentiful and I got some wild fennel, a few turnips, chard and the first broad beans of the year.
I put all of the ingredients on the counter and sat down to see how I could marry all of the flavours together whilst sipping a cup of tea. This is a process that I absolutely love as it just clears any other thoughts and makes me focus on the important task ahead, dinner!
Rhubarb glazed smoked gammon
preparation time 30 minutes
cooking time 1 1/2 2 hours depending on the size of the gammon
serves 4-6 (if 6 just make more sauce and veg and it will be plenty)
- 780 gr or 27.5 oz smoked gammon, not cooked
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 fresh or 1 dried bayleaf
- 3 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 2 sprigs of wild fennel
- button mushrooms
- salt to taste
Start by placing the gammon in water and bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil take the pan off the heat, remove the gammon, rinse it and pat it dry. Clean the pot, add the gammon and add enough water to just cover.
Bring the water to a boil and lower the heat so it is simmering, there should just be some movement on the surface. Peel the carrots, roughly chop the celery stalks and add to the water together with the spices and one of the fennel sprigs. Let cook for 40 minutes then turn the gammon and add salt to taste to make a nice broth. Add the last fennel spring and let simmer for another 30-40 minutes.
Whilst that was cooking I thought a rhubarb and ginger glaze might be nice. Rhubarb is an amazing ingredients that lends itself to sweet as well as savoury.
Rhubarb and ginger glaze
preparation time 5 minutes
cooking time 20 minutes + 20 minutes
serves 1 gammon steak and leaves you with some left over for other dishes
- 4 rhubarb stalks
- about an inch of fresh ginger, sliced not peeled
- 1/2 dl red wine
- 1 1/2 dl – 2 dl 3/4 cup to 1 cup demerara, raw cane sugar
Chop the rhubarb stalks and place in a pan with the wine and sliced ginger. Bring to a boil, skim and let boil on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Pass through a colander with muslin or J cloth. Place the juices in a pan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil until it starts to set. Skim it throughout the cooking and let cool.
When the gammon is cooked let it rest for at least 20 minutes wrapped in tinfoil. Cut off the skin on the gammon and then add the rhubarb glaze. I sliced rhubarb and added on top and then some more glaze before baking under the grill until it got a nice colour.
Light wild fennel bechamel
preparation time 5 minutes
cooking time 5 minutes
serves 2, can easily be doubled or tripled
- 3 dl or 1 1/2 cup semi skimmed milk
- 2 dl or 1 cup of the smoked gammon stock
- 3 large tsp corn starch/flour
- grated nutmeg
- salt to taste
- 1 sprig of wild fennel
Chop the fennel fine and set aside. Bring 2 dl or 1 cup of milk and the smoked gammon stock to a boil. Mix the last of the milk with the corn starch and add to the pan. Bring to a boil again and let boil out for a couple of minutes on medium heat, make sure it doesn’t burn. Grate in a little nutmeg and taste with salt. When you are happy with the flavour add the chopped wild fennel and serve.
I carefully blanched the bok coy with the gammon for 10 minutes and steamed the broad beans and the chard over the new potatoes before serving. I heaped it all on to a big plate and it tasted of summer even if the weather isn’t quite here yet.
Wild fennel has a great taste and I really like how it adds so much flavour and it went very well with the smoked gammon.
I am linking this up to Tasty Tuesdays, a fun virtual foodie party! Come and join us if you have cooked!