Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. For the in-depth story on the inspiration for the mousse, plus lots of historic photos, visit her blog.
I abhor wasting food, so I was thrilled when one of our finest chefs, Dan Barber of Stone Barns, opened a 2-week pop-up restaurant in NYC recently called WastED with an eye to changing the conversation about what gets tossed.
Here, for $15 a plate, diners were treated to bruised vegetables, imperfect fruit, fried skate bones and odd animal parts that were often tossed. Things like cauliflower hearts, broccoli and kale stems, even juice pulp was pressed to make ‘hamburgers’ –– all found great new roles at the table. Diners were not disappointed. A bit of ingenuity and cooking talent turned waste into delicious food. If you turn your mind to it, aprés-holiday dinners provide the perfect opportunity for letting nothing go to waste and making many great meals instead of turning into science experiments in the fridge. It also gives a great deal of satisfaction to know that you are fighting the statistics –– up to 40% of our food is thrown away each year.
We all know the after-holiday challenge. The holiday is over and your fridge is stuffed to the gills with leftovers. I spend more time scouring the web for recipes for leftovers than I do making the dinner in the first place. And that makes sense. A good piece of ham can provide many meals to follow – from the redo of the first dinner, to sandwiches, scalloped potatoes and ham-bone-flavored pea soup with the last little bits.
When dinner is done, the leftover pâté, meat, gravy, cream and stock can fairly quickly become fabulous meals and snacks. Even the sliced stale bread can be toasted for your mousse, and stale rolls buttered and toasted for deviled ham.
For these tasty dishes, leftovers can be used easily. Should you not have gravy, a velouté is quick to make as is aspic and great for lunches with a salad or snacks on their own.
Ham Mousse Alsacienne (based on Escoffier’s recipe)
½ pound D’Artagnan applewood smoked ham, skin removed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup velouté or meat gravy
½ c aspic (recipe follows)
2/3 cup heavy cream, whipped
½ to 1 teaspoon Escoffier spice mix (recipe follows)
salt to taste (some ham is very salty so you may not need it)
½ to 1 cup D’Artagnan foie gras medallions with truffles (depending on size of your mold)
Put the ham in a food processor and process till finely chopped. Add ¼ c of the aspic, the velouté and the heavy cream with the spice mix. Process till smooth. Taste for seasoning and spread smoothly in a dish. Chill. While this is chilling, take the foie gras and put into a mold. Put into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Take the ham mousse out of the fridge. Warm the mold with your hands or a hot towel and then tap the foie gras onto parchment — smooth any rough bits. Use a wide spatula and place on the ham mousse. Pour the remaining aspic over the mousse. It will just cover the molded foie and pool on the ham mousse. Chill until the aspic is set and serve with cornichons, mustard, green peppercorns and bread or toast.
1 cup of chicken stock
1 package of gelatin
1 egg white and shell
salt to taste
1 tablespoon Madeira
Put ¼ c stock in a pan and warm and add the gelatin. Stir till dissolved. Add the rest of the stock, the egg and the shell, stir and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the stock and egg through 2 thicknesses of cheesecloth. DO NOT SQUEEZE. Just let the stock drip to keep it clear. Add the Madeira and reserve.
* If you don’t want to make aspic, you should add 1T Madeira to the ham mousse. The aspic is delicious though so I do encourage the extra step.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup stock
2 mushrooms, chopped (optional)
pinch of salt to taste
Put the butter and flour in the pan and cook for a few minutes, add the stock slowly, stirring until all the stock is added. Put the mushrooms in the velouté and simmer at very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Strain.
Escoffier Spice Mix
1 bay leaf
3 pinches thyme
3 pinches coriander
4 pinches cinnamon
6 pinches nutmeg
4 pinches cloves
3 pinches ginger
3 pinches mace
10 pinches pepper
1 pinch cayenne
Blend all in a spice grinder or mash the bay leaf and blend with the rest.
And here is another leftover ham recipe – it’s very simple to do and lovely to eat. Serve on crackers, flat bread, a slice of baguette, or a toasted stale roll.
1/3 cup minced onion
¼ cup butter
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon flour
hefty pinch cayenne
1 cup scalded cream (you may want to add more after you chill it if it isn’t creamy enough)
2 cup ground D’Artagnan applewood smoked ham, skin removed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish (or bottled) or to taste (I added 2 tablespoons because I love horseradish)
2 teaspoon white wine vinegar if you are using freshly grated horseradish
Salt & pepper to taste
Pickle relish, sweet pickle or sour cornichons to serve (optional)
Sauté onion in butter till soft. Add the mustard and flour and make a roux. Add the cream and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add the ham and chill. Add the horseradish and salt and pepper to taste (ham is usually salty enough … so see what you think). You may want to add more cream after it chills if it is too stiff. Also, it is better the next day.