My nieces and nephew spend Tuesdays and Fridays with me each week and I like to come up with something interesting, nourishing and fun for them to eat for supper. They’re a tough crowd: if they don’t like something they will tell me straight: no bacon in hamburger mix – “why would you? Bacon is for breakfast, burgers are for burgers.”
Tracey of Bellowblogs introduced us to this Jamie Oliver recipe one holiday when we were staying in a cottage in the middle of the mountains in the Overberg. It was 28/82 windless degrees outside and, at first blush, it seemed a mad dish to be eating in the heat. But it worked so splendidly – I’ve been making it ever since. The kids love it – broth and all … though “none of that liquorice tasting vegetable please – liquorice is for sweets not soup.”
This dish is easy to make – once everything is prepped (which takes five minutes) – you literally throw it in one pot. And dish up in soup bowls. Ideal with three nutcases running around wanting to “DO something”.
As a bonus – it’s even more delicious the next day – and I serve it in two parts. First – the leftover broth gently warmed. Followed by room temperature ham: medium sliced, with a salsa verde, freshly boiled baby potatoes and a tomato/shallot salad.
The broth IS more delicious if you get a gammon joint that still has the bone in it. But they’re not around in Cape Town at the moment – so I used a regular netted one. 2kgs will serve 6 – 8 people generously over two days. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, nothing needs any more prep than a wash and a chop.
And use whatever veggies are in season for you – adjusting their cooking time to suit. This really is a no fuss, huge flavour dinner – a big thanks to Jamie for his usual genius simplicity!
- 2kg smoked middle cut of gammon, with the knuckle if possible
- a sprig of bay leaves
- a small bunch of fresh thyme
- a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, stalks reserved
- a few peppercorns
- 6 medium carrots, scrubbed, tops left on (if in good condition/I use baby carrots adding them 5 mins before the broccoli – brings a gentle crunch and sweetness to the broth)
- 1 large fennel, cut into 6 pieces, herby tops reserved
- 6 shallots or 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 6 pieces
- 1 celery heart, quartered, yellow leaves picked and reserved
- 400g new potatoes (or bigger potatoes cut into small pieces), lightly scrubbed
- 6 small turnips, peeled
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 generous handfuls of summer greens roughly shredded (use spinach, chard, kale or a mixture – wash well to make sure no sand is left in the leaves!)
- a good handful of tenderstem or sprouting broccoli, stalks trimmed
- extra virgin olive oil
First, get rid of any excess salt in the meat:
Put gammon into a large deep pot, cover with water.
Place over a medium heat.
As soon as the water comes to the boil, drain the gammon and discard the water.
Rinse out the pot – clearing off any residue on the sides.
Then: Tie bay, thyme and parsley stalks together in a small bunch.
Put the gammon back into the pot with the herb bunch and peppercorns.
Cover with enough water to submerge the gammon.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for 90 mins.
Add carrots, fennel, shallots, celery, potatoes and turnips to the pot
Season to taste, and bring back to the boil.
Simmer for about 45 minutes or until cooked.
Remove the gammon & vegetables from the pot using a long pair of tongs or a slotted spoon.
Keep to one side in a large deep warm dish while you cook the greens.
Add the shredded greens and broccoli to the pot and bring the stock back to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes until tender.
Check the seasoning of the boiling stock: remove the greens and broccoli to the warm dish.
Pull the meat apart using two forks; then take the bowl to the table.
Divide the meat and vegetables between serving bowls and ladle over plenty of broth.
Scatter over the reserved fennel tops, parsley leaves and celery leaves and drizzle over some good extra virgin olive oil.
It’s also lovely with a little bit of English mustard on the side. Serve with a crisp white wine or icy lager in the summertime, or a mid-bodied red like a merlot in the winter.
Day 2 Salsa Verde
The first time we made this, Miss T chopped the herbs by hand. Took her ages, but added a wonderful chunkiness to the sauce, something that was missing when I chopped the herbs in a blender. A great quality olive oil is so important here. The greener the better. And you can replace the vinegar with fresh lemon juice – if you do – zest some of the skin and stir into the salsa at the end.
- 1½–2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 small handful of capers (Wash off the salt or brine before you add them)
- 1 small handful of gherkins pickled in sweet vinegar
- 6 anchovy fillets (adds a warm earthiness to the salsa)
- 2 large handfuls of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
- 1 bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
- 1 handful of fresh mint, leaves picked
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or lemon juice … taste all the time while you are adding the acid)
- 8 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely chop the garlic, capers, gherkins, anchovies and herbs
Place them into a bowl.
Add the mustard and vinegar.
Slowly stir in the olive oil until you achieve the right consistency.
Balance the flavours with freshly ground black pepper, a bit of salt and maybe a little more vinegar/lemon juice.
Salsa verde will keep for a week, covered, in the fridge. Great with pretty much everything – but especially roast chicken and grilled fish.