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Jenise

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RCP: Another look at Jambon Persille

by Jenise » Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:03 pm

I was all set to make a duck terrine to take to WATAPEAS 3 until something came up here about the Burgundian classic ham and parsley terrine known by it's French name Jambon Persille. In the distant past I've made this fabulous dish by Julia Child's recipe using storebought ham. Well, the result was good, but this dish is only as good as the ham it's made from and American store-bought ham is basically crap, pardon my language. What I longed for was the taste that had so captivated me in Burgundy. So I checked online sources and could find nothing I could send for that wasn't smoked (all wrong) or along the lines of a Smithfield, also all wrong.

Then it dawned on me: just like Julia, I could cure my own ham. This would make my dish original from the ground up, and that would elevate it to the quality level I wanted to deliver anyway. I notified Bill of my decision to change (he kept track so we didn't have dupes) and drew up a curing schedule, then ordered a fresh organic ham leg from Oregon via my local Coop.

Which didn't come. A disaster, because the ham was going to start curing the day it came home and there was no slack in my schedule for the four day delay until the next delivery could be arranged. And there were no fresh conventional ham cuts around town either--I called everybody.

I was done for. Thank goodness Canada and it's smarter rules about such things was closeby. There I would be able to find good quality, natural tasting ham that wasn't tarted up to here with preservatives and fake colors and flavors. But that also sent me back to the internet in search of a different approach, something unexpected to compensate for my lack of original ingredients.

I found a number of recipes which had potential but settled on two: one by occasional forum visitor Peter Hertzmann, and one attributed to Gilles Verot (master Parisian charcuterer) that had been adapted by Florence Fabricant of the New York Times with help from Daniel Boulud that surrounded chunks of ham with a tantalizing-sounding ground ham filling. I loved the texture variations of the latter, but their terrine went into the oven to bake. Olive drab cooked parsley? No thank you, that is not what I remember in Burgundy. I preferred Peter's recipe's freshness, but not the larger chunks. And too, though I admire using fresh pig trotters (as Peter did) for a gelatine base, all I could find in my markets were jaundiced from previous freezing and no thank you to that, too--I would use powdered gelatin.

A combination of what I liked about each approach worked splendidly, and I added my own twist of assembly in five chilling stages in order to create a five layered terrine whereby three levels of ground ham mixture (ham, parsley, garlic and shallots) surrounded two layers of ham batonnets suspended in aspic. A lot of trouble but a fun challenge and well worth the final result, which could only have been better if I'd brought the right knife to slice it with.

Here is the recipe:

8 black peppercorns
1 pound raw spareribs
2.5 pound chunk of boiled ham (I bought a portion of a baked Tuscan ham in Canada)
2 garlic cloves, fine dice
1 large shallot, fine dice
1 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 cups strong chicken broth
1 1/2 c dry white wine
1 whole peeled white onion
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 sprig parlsey
1 sprig thyme
3 packets gelatin
4 egg whites

Day One:

In a large saucepan, combine the stock, onion, spare ribs cut into about four sections, cloves, peppercorns and wine. Bring slowly to a simmer, then cook about two hours. Add salt if your chicken broth was unseasoned. Strain broth and refrigerator overnight.

Day Two:

Chill a six cup terrine or loaf pan.

Finish the broth. Remove fat cap from chilled stock and return to a saucepan. Beat egg whites until frothy and add a ladle of the cool stock. Whisk them together and then stir the egg white mixture into the pot of stock. Bring up to a simmer, stirring frequently. As soon as the mixture starts to simmer, stop stirring and allow to simmer on the lowest fire possible for at least 20 minutes while the eggwhites firm up. Strain through five layers of cheesecloth. Allow about 30 minutes for a complete drain. You should now have about 2 and 3/4 c of clear broth. To make the aspic, remove about 1 c of the broth to a small saucepan and chill (or to a microwave safe bowl or coffee mug. Once cool, sprinkle the gelatin over and stir to mix well, then heat and stir to fully dissolve the gelatin. One dissolved, add that mixture back to the rest of the broth and mix thoroughly. Now divide the stock into two parts of 1/3 and 2/3. Allow both to cool.

Prepare the ham by trimming off any hard or discolored edges and cutting the rest into half 1"x 1/4" batonnets and half dice. Basically, you cut the best pieces into the former and throw the trim and waste, including fat, into the hopper of a food processor. To that add the diced shallot and garlic. Pulse to a large, coarse grind, then add chopped parsley and pulse to mix. Now add the 1/3 portion of gelatinized stock to the ground ham and divide the mixture in thirds.

To assemble the terrine, put 1/3 of the ground ham mixture in the bottom of the chilled terrine pan. Pat smooth and put in the freezer to chill, about 12 minutes. As soon as the gelatin has set arrange half of the batonnets lengthwise and top with half of the remaining aspic. Return the pan to the freezer to chill, about 8-10 minutes. Repeat until all the layers have been added--you'll be able to reduce chilling time by about two minutes with each step. It's important to apply the minimum chill possible--the layers fuse together better for in-tact slicing later.

Cover and chill overnight.
Last edited by Jenise on Mon Aug 07, 2006 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: RCP: Another look at Jambon Persille

by Paul Winalski » Mon Aug 07, 2006 12:40 am

I remember this dish fondly from my own trips to Burgundy. Thanks for posting proof that it's possible to duplicate this in the States.

-Paul W.

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