Gammon and Broad Beans with Spring Onion and Chive Sauce

This very English recipe is for Boiled Gammon and Broad Beans with Spring Onion Sauce. Bacon and broad beans have a great affinity, and there’s the added bonus of some bacon-flavoured stock for a broad bean soup if the weather’s not good. And if the weather is good, a ham and egg salad with the leftovers would go down a treat (as it did in our house).

Serves 4-6

Gammon and Broad Beans with Spring Onion and Chive Sauce
 2½ lb (1.125 kg) piece of smoked gammon
 ½ smallish onion, finely chopped
 1 small carrot
 ½ stick of celery
 2 bay leaves
 A few black peppercorns
 2-3 lb (900 g-1.350 kg) young broad beans, shelled – depending on whether there are 4 or 6 to dinner
For the sauce:
 1 oz (25 g) butter
 The other half of the smallish onion, finely chopped
 1 oz (25 g) plain flour
 12fl oz (350 ml) gammon stock
 6 fl oz (175 ml) milk
 6 oz (175 g) spring onions, chopped small (including the green parts)
 ½ oz (10 g) snipped chives
 1 tablespoon crème fraiche
 Salt and freshly milled black pepper


Place all the first set of ingredients, except for the broad beans, in a cooking pot in which the gammon will fit snugly, then add enough cold water to barely cover.

Now bring the whole lot up to the boil, put a lid on, and with the heat turned very low let it only just simmer gently for approximately 1 hour, or until the gammon feels tender when tested with a skewer.

Towards the end of the cooking time begin the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan, then add the onion and, keeping the heat low, let it cook very gently till translucent (about 10 minutes). After that add the flour, stir well till smooth, then ladle out some of the cooking liquid into a measuring jug (up to the 12fl oz, 350ml level) and add the milk to that.

Next add this mixture to the butter and flour, bit by bit, stirring or whisking constantly until you have a smooth sauce, which you then cook very gently for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile remove the gammon from the cooking liquid, cover it with foil and leave to rest. Now place the broad beans in a saucepan, ladle in some more cooking liquid to cover and boil them for about 2 minutes if they’re really young, or longer if not.

While that’s cooking add the spring onions, chives and crème fraiche to the sauce and give it a final whisking, adding more cooking liquid and seasoning if it needs it.

Carve the gammon into slices and serve with some sauce poured over and the rest in a jug for seconds, along with the broad beans.

We think the finishing touch to this is steamed baby new potatoes.

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