Boiled Gammon and Parsley Sauce

Some dishes, to me, are so typically English and bring back memories of food from my past.  Gammon is cured (usually wet cured in a salt brine) pork, from the leg.  It can be bought smoked, as an entire joint or as steaks.  It just can´t be bought in Spain, so I will have to work on a way to make my own.

Meanwhile, I picked up a few small joints of gammon on a pre Christmas shopping trip to the strange place that is Gibraltar.  A couple of hours´ drive from Malaga, it is a British Overseas Territory on the southern Iberian Peninsula.  I have to confess it´s not my favourite place as it seems to contain all that is bad about Britain packed into a very small area…but I don´t wish to offend and I am sure there is much more to it than I have ever seen on two brief shopping trips.

A trip to Gib, as it´s known to the Brits, allows us ex pats to stock up on things (particularly food) that we miss and either can´t get hold of or can´t be transported over easily by our visitors.  So, amongst many other food goodies, gammon it was.  I thought that Big Man would enjoy it as he loves pork and ham, but I knew it would be a new and interesting taste for him.

Gammon can be roasted or boiled and served hot or cold.  I decided to do a hot dish, boiled gammon with parsley sauce, which is a typical dish of comfort food from my homeland.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • One small brined gammon (about 750g)
  • About 6 carrots peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 2 medium onions peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • Water to cover
  • 6-8 medium potatoes boiled in their skins and peeled and halved to serve

For the parsely sauce you will need half a litre of home made béchamel sauce (infuse the parsley stalks in your milk before making it) and two tablespoons of parsley stirred in at the end. For extra flavour, use half milk and half stock (from boiling your gammon).

Simply put the gammon, onion, carrots, bay leaves and cloves into a deep saucepan and cover with water.  Don´t use salt – it will be fairly salty from the brine. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum that rises to the surface, cover and simmer gently for about an hour until the gammon is tender.

When the gammon is cooked, leave it to sit in the hot stock while you cook your potatoes and make the parsley sauce.  I used one cup each of milk and stock (which should both be cooled) , 2 tablespoons of plain flour, 1 tablespoon of oil and whisked everything together over a low heat until it started to boil and thicken.  This is my cheat´s way of making white sauce.  Finally I stirred in my chopped parsley and let it sit for a few minutes.

Remove the gammon from the stock and slice or chop (it will not slice easily when it´s warm, but I don´t mind chunks!).  I put some runner beans into the stock with the carrots and onions, bought them up to the boil and then strained the vegetables, reserving the stock for soup. Serve with the boiled, peeled potatoes and vegetables and enjoy the lovely steamy smells of gammon and parsley that will float up and fill you with a sense of comfort.


60 thoughts on “Boiled Gammon and Parsley Sauce

  1. The first time I saw Gammon on a menu in London I thought it was a reference to Dr. Seuss’ stories. I’m not sure why, but I had never heard the word before. That said, it didn’t take me long to love it.

  2. Such a wonderful comforting meal, which I could enjoy all year around! Must call my mom to ask why she never made us the parsley sauce growing up – feel like I have missed out!
    🙂 Mandy

  3. Another new one on me…the parsley sauce sounds wonderful, and I’m a sucker for cured pork of any kind!
    To you suppose Gammon began as a mis-pronounciation of Jamon? (Sorry, no accent mark, but you know what I mean… 😉 )

    1. Good point about the jamon/gammon thing…it sounds very plausible to me! Gammon is so good and as soon as I´ve worked out how to make my own, I´ll be sharing it with you all 🙂

  4. I don’t know this kind of ham. At least I *guess* it is a sort of ham… looks yummy in any event! Of course, I have yet to meet any part of the pig I didn’t like to eat… 😉 Mmmm!!

  5. I love gammon (and the fact that the stock continues into a fabulous soup base) but I always like pease pudding with mine. My husband thinks that it’s horrible – but I love it hot and cold! Can’t say I remember having it with parsley sauce though. Must try it.

      1. A good point, Tanya. My mother always made parsely sauce with boiled ham, corned beef – basically anything salted.


      2. It was funny as when I made the recipe, it didn´t seem unusual to me…I know my grandmother would have taught my mum and then me. Mind you…this could have come from some old family recipe way, way back in the late 1700s!

  6. I’ve never had gammon, never mind the parsley sauce. I would love this as I love anything brined… and they do the brining for you:) what could be better! I’m sure your husband loved this, such a perfect comfort food:) xo Smidge

  7. Sounds delicious – I wish my mother had been able to cook like this – I’m sure she was Nigel Slater’s mum’s twin sister.
    There’s a section on curing ham in Jocasta Innes’ The Country Kitchen” 😉

    1. Am still laughing at this – lots of toast then eh?! I knew that if anyone could point me in the right direction about curing the pork, it would be you! Thank you so much…will have to look into this. Reminds me that I might also find something in The River Cottage Yearbook…

  8. This sounds delicious, Tanya, and your parsley sauce is something I’ve got to try. Your photo of the prepared plate is so tantalizing and you served it atop a red checkered table cloth. Perfect!

  9. So interesting Tanya. I’ve not heard of Gammon before but reading along with your directions, it sounds like it will be so tender and tasty. The parsley sauce also seems to pare with it really nicely. Lovely dinner!

  10. Perfect timing for this recipe, Tanya. I visited our local pork shop this morning and came home with all sorts of goodies. They are a boutique butchers shop that cures all its own bacon and ham. (I think they even own the farms where the pigs are raised.)
    Husband, ex-farmer, still requires his bacon and eggs for breakfast on a regular basis.

    1. I´m so pleased Diane and I guess where you are it will be easy to find English cuts and styles of meat. I have been doing some serious research into making my own ham and bacon (either brined or dry cured) so watch this space….!

  11. Hi Chica – it seems boiled gammon isn’t so common these days – I just love it. It’s so succulent and delicious. I was always so happy when they served it at school. Best way of eating it for me was with a fried egg and a pineapple ring, although maybe the pineapple is considered a bit “uncool” these days…?

    Looks like you had a great meal 🙂

  12. Great to see a British classic. I was talking to friends about this dish just the other day and we were all craving it! And I like how you recommend using some of the stock for the sauce – de rigeur 🙂

    1. Oh good – I wasn´t sure if this was a bit of a “non recipe” but it seems to have generated quite a bit of interest! At homke we always used some of the stock in the sauce…really gives it a wonderful flavour 🙂

  13. Hi T, Looks delicious. A friend brought me a joint out at Christmas. I am saving it for a special occasion!! A bit of shame that you can only buy it in Gib.
    Regards Florence x

  14. Did Big Man end up liking it after all? I’m positive you can make everything taste great!! Big Man’s very lucky to have an amazing chef like you. 🙂

    Spaniards especially seem to be very tied to their typical home dishes (especially Mama’s cooking), and really, who can blame them?! D-Man (el pobresito, heheh) is a good sport and has gulped down plenty of my kitchen experiments over the years. He occasionally happens to walk by and look over my shoulder when I’m browsing through your blog for ideas, and says, “That one. Ooooh, why don’t you try THAT one?? Ven, vamos y compramos un chuletón!”

    1. Big Man did love it and in fact we´re planning another version of this soon. I struggled when I first got here as I wanted to cook as I had cooked in the UK and realised I needed to gradually introduce new foods to Big Man (like to a child!) and now he´ll request things (non Spanish) that I haven´t made for a while. His favourites though are still “platos de cuchara”!

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