Burgundy (Bourgogne) is a region in France that is famous for its wine and its food. Three years ago we went there for a few days to discover the wine region and purchased some nice wines. When tasting white wines, often a appetizer called jambon persillé was served with it and I remember it was a good pairing. And so it was not hard to decide what kind of appetizer from Burgundy I was going to make for the Burgundian evenings I organised.
Jambon persillé is ham hocks simmered in aligoté (white wine from Burgundy) which is then turned into a terrine with parsley. In France the ham hocks are sold salted as palette de porc demi-sel, but I used fresh ham hocks. You could also add a pork’s foot (pork trotters), but my butcher had run out of them.
It is quite a bit of work to make this and the result was good but not spectacular, so I’m not sure if I’ll make it again.
3 kilograms (6.5 lbs) ham hocks
1 pig’s foot, split (optional)
1 bottle (750 ml) aligoté
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
5 cloves garlic
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 Tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley (reserve the stems)
gelatin sheets to set 500 ml (2 cups) (optional)
You may notice that I inserted the cloves into the onions. This is a trick to make it easier to remove the cloves later, and to avoid removing them prematurely when skimming the stock.
When all or at least most of the scum is gone, it’s a good time to add the reserved parsley stems, the garlic, and the pepper corns. It is a nuisance to skim with those ingredients already in the stock.
Add a layer of meat, selecting the larger chunks and making sure that their fibers are aligned lengthwise. This will ensure that when you cut the terrine, the fibers will be cut short making the terrine more tender.
Add another layer of the parsley mixture. Keep adding meat and the parsley mixture until you have used up all the ingredients. Put the larger pieces of meat on the bottom and on the top, using the smaller ones for the middle. This will make it easier to cut the terrine.
Jambon Persillé is often served with pickled gherkins, but I liked to serve it with a vinaigrette made from extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and lots and lots of parsley.
This is especially good with aligoté, but many other white wines from Burgundy work as well, especially if they are not too oaked and don’t too have too much minerality.