Schinken mit Makkaroni

An easy-to-make and economical dish, Schinken mit Makkaroni (shin-ken mitt mah-kar-ohn-ay) is ideal for a light lunch or supper. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread and lots of cold cider.

3 oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter

1 medium-sized onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped

6 oz. quick-cooking macaroni, cooked and drained

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2

11. oz. sour cream

4 oz. cooked ham, diced

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried mixed herbs

2 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated

1 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C). Lightly grease an ovenproof casserole with the teaspoon of butter and set aside.

In a medium-sized frying-pan, melt 2 ounces of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occa-sionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the macaroni and the remaining butter to the pan and, using two large spoons, toss the mixture until it is well coated with the butter. Remove the pan from the heat. Keep warm.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream together with a wire whisk or rotary beater. Stir in the ham, pepper and mixed herbs. With a slotted spoon, transfer the frying-pan mixture to the egg mixture and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole and sprinkle over the cheese and breadcrumbs. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the topping is golden brown.

Remove the casserole from the oven and serve immediately.

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