First of all, please excuse the out-of-focus photo: I was just about to dive in and eat when I suddenly remembered that it's months and months since I've posted a recipe, and this is the sort of frugal, simple dish that I love to share. So I just grabbed my phone for a quick snap.
Fortunately it's one of those dishes that tastes a lot better than it looks!
At this time of year we are often still valiantly trying to finish up the Christmas leftovers, so it's good to have some ideas for ways to use them. We'd had a large piece of ham on Boxing Day and I made this with the last scraps of it. You can use as much or as little ham as you have available, and if it really doesn't seem to be enough to feed everybody, you could add some chopped cooked bacon or even some turkey scraps. In fact next year I might try making it with turkey.
I like to make this in a well-greased traditional brown earthenware Lancashire style hotpot dish, but any casserole dish with a well fitting lid is suitable. Oh, and I always, ALWAYS serve it with sprouts, after all they are my favourite vegetable!
The amount here serves two, generously, but it can be scaled up or down to suit your needs.
A cereal bowl full sized portion of scraps of leftover cooked ham, cut into small pieces.
3 small onions
3 large potatoes
400 ml milk
50g plain flour
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C (180 fan, 400 F, gas mark 6)
Peel and thinly slice the onions and potatoes then build up layers of onion, potato and ham in the casserole dish, making sure the top layer is potatoes.
Make a white sauce by whisking together the milk, butter and flour over a medium heat until boiling - no need to cook out the floury taste, this beast is going to get 2 hours in the oven so it will cook out then! Season the sauce with plenty pepper - whether it also needs salt depends on how salty your ham is, which you'll already know if you are using leftovers, so use your discretion.
Pour the sauce over the layers of meat and veg, making sure it covers the top evenly and trickles down among the layers.
Cover and place in the oven for an hour, then remove the lid, reduce the temperature to 150 C (130 fan, 300 F, gas mark 2) and cook for a further hour. Keep an eye on the top, you want a lovely brown crust but if it looks as if it's about to burn, pop the lid back on.
Serve with Brussels Sprouts and make sure everybody gets some of the yummy Brown Crispy Bits from the top!