Ham and cheese bake
- December 2021
- Serves 4-6
- Hands-on time 15 min, plus oven time 30 min
A cheesy ham bake is a versatile and flexible way to use up Christmas leftovers. Fold greens, turkey or ham into the rich, cheesy sauce.
Leftover Brussels? Slice then fold those sprouts into these delicious savoury pancakes.
- 24.1g (11.3g saturated)
- 14.2g (5.7g sugars)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Knob of unsalted butter
- 1 large leek, sliced (or 1 large onion or 3-4 shallots)
- 3 fat garlic cloves, crushed
- 300-400g mixed greens – spinach, kale, chard, etc – woody stems removed, the rest roughly chopped
- Large handful herbs – parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, etc – roughly chopped (optional)
- Grated zest and juice 1 lemon
- 200g leftover ham, roughly torn
For the cheesy béchamel
- 40g unsalted butter
- 40g plain flour
- 500ml whole milk
- 80-100g halloumi, grated
- 50g parmesan, grated
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
For the crunchy topping
- Large handful fancy potato crisps, crushed
- Large handful mixed roasted nuts, roughly chopped
- 1-2 oregano sprigs, leaves picked (optional), or use thyme, parsley or finely chopped rosemary instead
- Heat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6. Heat the oil and butter in a large lidded pan over a medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the greens, herbs (if using), lemon zest and juice along with some seasoning. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until the greens are wilted (you may need to add them in batches). Stir in the ham, then transfer to a large casserole or baking dish. Set aside.
- For the béchamel, melt the butter in a large pan over amedium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk off the heat, a little at a time to avoid lumps, then return to the heat and cook, whisking, until the sauce comes to the boil and thickens – about 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining béchamel ingredients.
- Pour the béchamel over the greens and ham, mixing a little so it sinks into the filling. Put the casserole/baking dish on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until bubbling and golden.
- While the mornay bakes, mixtogether the crushed crisps, nuts and oregano, if using. Sprinkle over the baked mornay just before serving for added crunch.
Easy swaps: Sub in other roast meat, roasted root veg or smoked salmon for the filling. Use whatever cheese you have to hand – blue, smoked cheddar, goat’s cheese, even feta will work. Adjust the seasoning to match, as some cheeses are quite salty.
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