Julia Child was a longtime Food & Wine contributor—and a champion of ham. She feared most cooks outside of the South didn’t care much about the beautiful hunk of meat if it wasn’t breakfast, and she was determined to change that. For this recipe, she was inspired by a dish called jambon à la morvandelle, the signature dish of Alexandre Dumaine, one of France’s most famous chefs in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. “Although supermarket ham will do, real country ham will give you a dish more like Dumaine’s fabled creation,” wrote Child. Child called the dish, featuring ham steaks basted in a mushroom and Madeira sauce, one of her “fast entrées for fancy people.” She recommended serving them with steamed spinach and mashed potatoes.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 2 (12-ounce) boneless cured ham steaks
- 1/4 cup Madeira
- 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
- 4 ounces fresh button or wild mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup English peas (optional)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Step 1
Heat oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add 1 ham steak to skillet, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet, and repeat procedure with remaining ham steak.
- Step 2
Return steaks to skillet. Add Madeira, and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add stock, mushrooms, and shallots to skillet; cook, periodically spooning cooking liquid over steaks, until mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove ham and mushrooms with a slotted spoon; set aside.
- Step 3
Add peas, if using, and heavy cream to skillet. Stir and continue cooking until mixture is thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter until blended. Cut ham into 8 equal pieces; serve sauce and mushrooms over ham.