In the heat of the summer sometimes it is good to have a dish you can simply slide out of the fridge, slice off a hunk, add a condiment, some pickles and you have lunch or a light dinner. Somehow and I am not sure how but I believe collagen has a cooling effect. While I know it is great for your joints and colds, one reason real chicken and noodle soup is called penicillin, I am not sure why it would be cooling other then it is, well, served cold, stupid I know but I have no other answer and, honestly I need to get back out to the garden and finish weeding. But first a quick lunch.
Makes a 4 x 4 x 8 inch loaf
2 1/2 lb. chunk of ham, mine was two pieces
1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
1 onion, trimmed and halved
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small head of garlic, trimmed, halved
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup shallots, minced
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, rinsed, dried and minced
1 1/2 sheets of gelatin
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1. Place the ham in a large pot with the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, bay, and thyme. Add cold water to cover the ham by and inch. Place the pot over high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for two hours or until the ham is tender enough to shred with a fork.
2. Remove the ham to a sheet tray or something that will allow you to shred it without making a mess.
3. Add the half cup of wine to the ham pot and bring the broth to a boil. Reduce the liquid to about 2 or 2 1/2 cups.
4. Shred the ham while the broth is reducing and add the parsley, shallots and a few grinds of black pepper.
When the broth is reduced taste it for seasoning. If it needs salt add a little. Remember this will be served cold so it needs to be seasoned aggressively but it is ham so it is already salty. You will need to use your own best judgement. Remove the vegetables from the broth. I just ladled out the broth and left the thyme leaves in, remember this is a rustic dish.
5. Place the gelatin into a bowl and add some of the hot broth. Let the sheet curl up and then flatten out then swirl the broth around until the gelatin has dissolved and then add the rest of the broth. Add the vinegar and mix well.
6. Mix the ham well with the parsley and shallots. Grab a good handful of the ham mixture and pat it into the bottom of the loaf pan with the authority of a TSA agent. Add some of the broth to just come up to the top edge of this layer of ham. Add more ham and then do the same with the broth until you have filled the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. I didn’t put a weight on top of the ham to compress it but feel free to do so if you have the urge.
7. The next day slice and serve with pickles, mustard and crusty bread.