Yesterday I got some disappointing news in the afternoon and I took it pretty hard. I agonized about it but after an hour(or 2) enough was enough! Most people will have a drink after bad news but I tend to cook. It always makes me feel better after I chopped, tasted and pulled something out of the oven. I guess you could say, it’s a bit like therapy but cheaper. Thus to recover from this very bad day I decided to make a main course and a chocolatey dessert(chocolate always works for me!!). I went to the supermarket with no idea what so ever, sometimes it’s better this way because seeing the different veggies or a nice bit of meat can spark an idea. Coincidentally I saw nice cuts of ham and picked a small but plump piece to add to my shopping bag. And of course with the weather being so cold, chicory was readily available and at a bargain price (€0,59 for 4 pieces). I have never cooked with chicory before but they looked so delectable I just had to buy some. Looking at them I knew I wanted to make chicory wrapped in ham and smothered in a cheese sauce. Without ever having tasted them this way I knew it would taste good. Sounds weird I know but with some things you just know.
When I got home I perused through my recipes and came up with a glazed orange bourbon ham, chicory wrapped in ham with cheese sauce and a simple potato salad. For dessert I tried a recipe from Masterchef for a chocolate fondant. First I cooked the ham for 30 min, took it out of the pot and prepared the marinade. The ham was tiny(about 400 grams) thus didn’t need a lot of cooking. The marinade was bourbon, orange marmalade, dijon mustard, cloves,honey and a tiny bit of oil. I cooked this down to a thick substance and slathered it on the ham. The oven was set at 180 degrees and the ham needed about 40 min, occasionally basting it with the marinade/sauce.
Just out of curiosity I decided to put one stalk of chicory in boiling water for 5 minutes, then wrap it in ham. The other stalk I wrapped in ham in its raw form. I just wanted to see if there was a difference in flavor. And I am happy to report that there isn’t. The base for the cheese sauce was a béchamel sauce with some grated Gruyère cheese. I poured it on the chicory and left it in the oven for 30 minutes. For the potato salad I used baby potatoes, boiled them for 15-20 minutes and tossed them in a dressing made with mayonnaise, apple vinegar and dijon mustard.
The verdict: the ham came out of the oven golden brown smelling sweet, spicy with a hint of oranges. I will definitely be making this again for me and it’s also a good idea for when you have people over for dinner. You can make this in advance and warm in the oven right before serving. I want to say that I loved the chicory made this way and that it is one of my favorite veggies but how many times have I said that already of other veggies? But seriously it was a pleasure to eat vegetables for dinner last night. The chicory still had a hint of bitterness to it but it complemented the ham and cheese so well. This was dinner from last night:
My feel better dessert: chocolate fondant (recipe from Masterchef)
And you know what, I felt so much better after this dinner, especially after dipping my spoon in the chocolate fondant. Very soothing to see the liquid chocolate goodness 🙂