Ham with Champagne Sauce

A delicious dinner party dish that is sur-prisingly easy to prepare, Ham with Champagne Sauce needs only boiled new potatoes and a tossed green salad to make a splendid meal. A well-chilled white wine, such as Pouilly Fume, would complement this dish beautifully. A good white wine may be substituted for the Champagne in the sauce, if you prefer.

6-8 h ham, about

6 to

7 lb., scrubbed, soaked in cold water overnight and drained

6 cloves

1 oz. butter, cut into small pieces

8 fl. oz. chicken stock

8 fl. oz. Champagne

3 tablespoons brandy

5 fl. oz. double cream

½ teaspoon ground mace

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 teaspoons cornflour dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

With a sharp knife, make six small inci-sions in the ham and insert the cloves.

Place the ham in a large saucepan and half-fill it with cold water. Place the pan over moderately high heat and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the ham for 2 hours, or allowing 20 minutes to the pound and 20 minutes over. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the ham to cool in the cooking liquid.

When the ham is cool, remove it from the cooking liquid and peel off the skin. Discard the ham skin and the cooking liquid.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Place the ham in a fairly deep roasting tin and dot the butter on top and around the sides.

In a large measuring jug, combine the chicken stock with the Champagne and pour 8 fluid ounces of the mixture over the ham.

Place the roasting tin in the oven and bake the ham for about 1 hour, or allowing 10 minutes to the pound plus 10 minutes over. Baste the ham occasionally during the cooking period.

Remove the ham from the oven and transfer it to a carving board. Set aside.

Strain the cooking juices into a medium-sized saucepan and bring them to the boil over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a small saucepan, gently warm the brandy until it is hot but not boiling. Add the brandy to the pan juices and ignite the mixture.

When the flames die down, stir in the cream, mace, pepper and remaining stock and Champagne mixture. Return the pan to low heat and, stirring constantly, add the cornflour mixture. Cook the sauce, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until it is hot but not boiling and has thickened.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce into a warmed sauceboat.

Carve the ham into slices and serve, with the Champagne sauce.

Ham in Cider Sauce is a tasty and subtly flavoured dish.

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