Jambon Braise au Madere

Slipper of gammon is a lean, boned cut which is ideal for dinner parties as it can be carved easily at the table. Jambon

Braise au Madere (jawm-bohn bray-zay oh mah-dair) is served with a rich sauce and, traditionally, with a spinach dish such as Epinards au Gratin or Epinards a la Provencale.2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced

2 small carrots, scraped and thinly sliced

4 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

2 lb. slipper of gammon, soaked overnight and drained

6 tablespoons Madeira

1 tablespoon vodka or gin

10 fl. oz.

½ cups home-made beef stock bouquet garni, consisting of parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

1 tablespoon beurre manie

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

In a large frying-pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onion and mushroom mixture to a large, ovenproof casserole.

Place the ham in the frying-pan and cook it, turning occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is lightly and evenly browned.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, com-bine 4 tablespoons of the Madeira and the vodka or gin. Place the saucepan over low heat and gently warm the mixture until it is hot but not boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the ham. Ignite it and swirl it around the frying-pan gently until the flames subside. With slotted spoons, remove the ham from the pan and place it on top of the vegetables in the casserole.

Pour the stock into the frying-pan and bring it to the boil, scraping in any brown bits adhering to the bottom and sides with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the stock over the ham. Add the bouquet garni.

Cover the casserole and place it in the oven. Bake the ham for ½ hours, or until the skin pulls away easily and the flesh is tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife. Remove the casserole from the oven and transfer the ham to a warmed serving dish. Keep warm while you make the sauce.

Strain 5 fluid ounces of the cooking liquids into a large saucepan, discarding any vegetable pulp remaining in the strainer. Add 5 fluid ounces of water and the remaining Madeira. Set the pan over high heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Boil the liquid for 4 to 6 minutes, or until it has reduced by about one-third. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Reduce the heat to moderate and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the beurre manie, a little at a time. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce into a warmed sauceboat.

Serve the ham, with the sauce. i +

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