This is such a delicious way to use up ham – it’s rich, certainly, but the apple offers bright contrast to the cream and salty meat. You could serve this as a side dish but I think it’s a main meal, a centrepiece all on its own.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
400ml single cream
1 garlic clove, flattened with the side of a knife
2 sprigs of thyme
2 tsp Dijon mustard
400g Savoy or sweetheart cabbage leaves, sliced
40g dried breadcrumbs
15g Parmesan, finely grated
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large apple
100g cooked ham, chopped
40g strong cheddar, grated
Put the cream, garlic and thyme in a small pan and very gently simmer for 8 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the mustard. Set aside.
Meanwhile, blanch the cabbage in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain and reserve a cup of the cooking water.
When cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess water.
Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Set aside.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter and the rest of the oil. Gently fry the onion with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6 and butter a 2-litre baking dish.
Peel, core and chop the apple into small chunks.
Add the apple and cabbage to the onion pan and stir to combine. Fry for a minute or so, then take the pan off the heat and mix in the ham and cheddar.
If the cream has thickened too much to pour easily, add a splash or two of the reserved cabbage water to loosen – it should still be the consistency of single cream.
Remove the thyme and garlic, then stir the cream into the cabbage mixture. Spoon into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle over the prepared breadcrumbs.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
Recipe from Second Helpings by Sue Quinn (Quadrille, £18.99)