This wonderful old-fashioned dish is the ideal main course for a summer garden party, served with tiny new potatoes, lots of salad and homemade mayonnaise. It makes an equally impressive first course for a formal dinner.
1kg/2¼lb unsmoked, uncooked ham joint
3 unsmoked, uncooked ham shanks
1 large onion, stuck with 3-4 cloves
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3-4 shallots, peeled
few sprigs fresh tarragon
few sprigs fresh thyme
few whole black peppercorns
1.5 litres/2½ pints dry white wine, plus a little extra for soaking the gelatine in
large bunch fresh parsley, very finely chopped
1 packet gelatine leaves
50ml/2fl oz white wine vinegar
The evening before, soak the ham and shanks in three or four changes of cold water in a large pan. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
The next day, change the water again, then bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Drain away the cooking water.
Freshen the ham under cold water, then return it to the pan with the onion, garlic, shallots, tarragon, thyme and peppercorns. Pour over the wine, cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2½ hours.
Remove the ham from the pan, reserve the cooking liquid and set aside. Using two forks, remove the skin and excess fat from the ham joint and the shanks, then use the forks to break the meat away from the shank bones. Discard the skin, fat and bones. Break down all the meat by gently crushing with the forks.
Arrange half the ham, packed quite tightly, into the bottom of a large glass bowl. Sprinkle over a generous layer of chopped parsley then add the other half of the meat. Finish with another layer of parsley.
Line a sieve with four layers of muslin and place over a large bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through the muslin three times.
Soak the gelatine leaves in a little white wine, according to packet instructions. Whisk the softened gelatine into the reserved cooking liquid, which should still be hot. Add the wine vinegar and mix well, then pour the mixture over the ham. Do this carefully so as not to wash the parsley to the outer edges of the bowl.
Chill in the fridge until set. This dish will keep in the fridge for a week or more.
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