Tranches de Jambon a la Creme (Ham Slices in Fresh Cream Sauce)

This Julia Child recipe immediately follows the Ham in Madeira sauce (10/25/11) that we made before and LOVED!  In the into to this recipe Julia says that "this famous recipe is the same idea as the preceding one, but with a richer, more delicate sauce."  Well it was indeed very similar, but I think that we all liked the first one better.  The main difference is that the first sauce had ham stock in it; it could be, however, that the ham we used this time was smokier in flavor which made it into the sauce.  Either way it was good, but next time we will make the first version.

Tranches de Jambon a la Creme (Ham Slices in Fresh Cream Sauce)

3 lbs of cooked ham, sliced 1/4" thick
2 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
2 Tb shallots(or green onions), chopped
2/3 cup Madeira or Port
3 Tb cognac
2 cups whipping cream
2 Tb Dijon Mustard mixed with 1 Tb tomato paste and 2 Tb whipping cream
Big Pinch of Black Pepper

Trim off any excess fat on the ham and pat dry with paper towels. Put the oil and butter in a skillet and brown the ham on both sides. Put the ham on a plate and remove all but a tablespoon of fat in the skillet.  Saute the shallots (or onions) until soft (about 2 minutes)  Pour in the wine and cognac and boil rapidly, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Boil until the liquid has reduced to about 3-4 Tb.
Add the cream to the skillet and beat in the mustard mixture and pepper.  Simmer slowly until the cream has reduced to about 1.5 cups and has thickened slightly. Correct seasoning, but go light on the salt.  Ham is salty. Return the ham to the sauce and baste the ham with the sauce. (may be done ahead to this point)
Shortly before serving, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for several minutes until the ham is reheated and tender.


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