Jambon Persillé

For this recipe, I referred to Glorious French Food, written by James Peterson, published in 2002. All of the following information is from his recipe. He is very serious about French food, as you can tell from the book’s title!

“While no two versions are exactly the same, jambon persillé is cooked ham that’s been layered in a terrine with chopped parsley and the gelatinous poaching liquid used for cooking the ham. Depending on whose recipe you follow, the terrine may consist of pieces of ham suspended in gelée or contain very little gelée at all, just enough to hold the terrine together.

An exact recipe for jambon persillé is hard to give because ham is one of the few things that aren’t made the same way in different parts of the country. How you make jambon persillé depends on the ham or ham shoulder you start out with and how ambitious you’re feeling. The traditional method consists of soaking a fully cured raw ham for several days to rid it of excess salt and then braising it for several hours in a wine-and-carrot-flavored court bouillon (vegetable stock) to soften it. The ham would probably be a jambon de Moruan in Burgundy, where jambon persillé originates, but prosciutto di Parma, or a less expensive domestic prosciutto, or Smithfield ham would make a good substitute. Split calves’ or pigs’ feet are simmered in the court bouillon with the ham to provide gelatin, which holds the finished jambon persillé together. The ham is cut into cubes or shredded and combined with freshly chopped parsley and the braising liquid in a terrine and allowed to set.

My own approach is somewhat different and takes a few days of forethought. I salt a fresh, raw ham and convert it into demi-sel, a trick that enhances its flavor, and then make stock with pigs’ or calves’ feet, reduce it, and add use it along with vegetables, herbs, and white wine to poach the ham instead of simmering the feet along with the ham in the way most recipes suggest. There are two reasons for making a separate jelly stock. First, this allows you to cook the stock for 10 hours instead of only 6 or so, to extract the maximum of natural gelatin. Second, jambon persillé needs a very gelatinous stock to hold it together, and making the stock in advance allows you to reduce it before you poach the ham.

While my own preference is for homemade demi-sel, you can make a jambon persillé out of just about any form of ham. If you have some decent cooked ham, you don’t need to cook it more. Just slice it, cut it into cubes, and layer it in the terrine with melted fonds gelée, clear stock with some extra gelatin added to hold it together. If you have a fully cured ham, soak a piece of it for 3 days in cold water, changing the water a couple of times a day, and then cook the piece as I describe in the recipe.”

JJambon Persillé
Ham in Aspic

6 quarts when melted fonds gelée
4 pounds [1.8 kg] boneless raw uncured fresh ham or shoulder (5 pounds [2.3 kg] if the bone is in), partially salted or left raw and uncured
4 medium-size carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch [2.5 cm] sections
2 large red onions, peeled, cut in half through the root end
3 cups [750 ml] dry white wine
1 medium-size bouquet garni
1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, large stems cut off and used in the bouquet garni

Bring the gelée to a gentle simmer on the stove and simmer about 2 hours to reduce it to 10 cups [2.5 l]. Skim.

To make the gelée, I simmered 5 cut up pigs feet in water and wine, with onions, leeks, parsley, thyme, chives, and bay leaves, plus a dried mixture of soup mix. I cooked, and skimmed, for about 6 hours.

Put the ham in a pot just large enough to hold it. Pour enough of the fonds gelée over the ham to cover it. Add the carrots, onions, wine, and bouquet garni, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Turn down to between low and medium heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 5 to 6 hours, until a knife slides easily in and out of the meat. Add water or more broth from time to time to make up for evaporation.

Transfer the ham to a cutting board and strain the poaching liquid into a clean container. Chop the parsley very fine.

Ladle ½ cup [125 ml] of poaching liquid into the bottom of a 1½-liter (6-cup) terrine and sprinkle over it about 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley. Pull the ham into shreds and put a layer on top of the parsley and poaching liquid. Pour just enough poaching liquid over the meat to barely cover it, sprinkle more parsley, and add another layer of meat.

Keep layering the terrine in this way, finishing it with a layer of broth and parsley. Refrigerate overnight.

I didn’t shred the ham; I preferred the look of the terrine with large pieces.

When you’re ready to serve, just cut slices right out of the terrine. Or, for a more dramatic effect, you can unmold the whole thing: put a platter upside down over the terrine, invert both together, and lift off the terrine.

If you like, serve with bread, mustard, and cornichons.

Instead of just slices, I roughly chopped the ham in aspic to make more of a salad – something I like to do when I make pigs’ feet.

I also made a caper and parsley vinaigrette for the salad.

Straight red wine vinegar is also good, plus a few capers.

Any size terrine can be used for jambon persillé. In fact, if you want the slices to fit on bread, a long, narrow terrine is best.

By Published On: September 1st, 202148 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

48 Comments

  1. Bernadette September 1, 2021 at 6:08 AM - Reply

    Mimi, WOW! You are one fabulous and creative chef.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 6:51 AM - Reply

      1. Thanks 2. I hope you know I’m not a real chef; it’s an old nickname!

  2. angiesrecipes September 1, 2021 at 7:05 AM - Reply

    That’s like that you have spent the whole day in the kitchen….it looks so yummy and are definitely worth all the efforts, Mimi.

  3. Tandy | Lavender and Lime September 1, 2021 at 7:27 AM - Reply

    This looks amazing! I really need to take my terrine out of the cupboard and use it as I love these sorts of recipes.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 7:36 AM - Reply

      I do too. I love terrines.

    • Ben Maclain|Havocinthekitchen September 8, 2021 at 7:28 PM - Reply

      I’ve never made nor tried jambon persillé (well, I’ve only made other French terrine maybe once or twice), and I must admit this looks and sounds terrific! Yeah definitely it’s time-consuming, but the result 100% worth it. Impeccable job!

      • chef mimi September 8, 2021 at 7:29 PM

        To make the gelatin took some time, but overall it wasn’t hard at all! And so well worth it…

  4. Cynthia Woodman September 1, 2021 at 7:31 AM - Reply

    Sounds delicious and that book looks great!

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 7:36 AM - Reply

      Oh, it was so good…

  5. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen September 1, 2021 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    An amazing recipe Mimi! I love a terrine, and I must say, your vinaigrette looks divine as well!

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 8:58 AM - Reply

      thank you! I’ve been using the rest of the vinaigrette on tomato salads!

  6. popsiclesociety September 1, 2021 at 8:49 AM - Reply

    It looks absolutely spectacular 🤩 and I love the caper and parsley vinaigrette 😋

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 8:58 AM - Reply

      I still have some leftover and it’s so good on tomato salads!

  7. kitchenriffs September 1, 2021 at 10:05 AM - Reply

    Wow! I’m impressed — I’ve looked at this recipe forever (both in Peterson’s book, and Julia Child has a version too), but haven’t made it. Yours looks terrific — congrats on this. BTW, isn’t Peterson’s book great? He’s such a good cookbook writer.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 1:00 PM - Reply

      He certainly is. And what passion and knowledge!

  8. cookingwithauntjuju.com September 1, 2021 at 11:17 AM - Reply

    I am not into terrines and especially one where pigs feet are involved! Looks lovely though and what a presentation.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 12:59 PM - Reply

      Awww. You’re missing out! Actually the broth just tastes like chicken broth!

      • cookingwithauntjuju.com September 1, 2021 at 1:02 PM

        It’s the pig feet – not that I’m squeamish but the idea of cooking them… My brother use to raise these giant pigs in Hawaii and the babies were so cute…

      • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 1:03 PM

        Oh!

  9. StefanGourmet September 1, 2021 at 12:03 PM - Reply

    This is really good Mimi and I suspect it tastes as good as it looks. As you might have guessed, I’ve used sous vide to cook the ham (to keep it more moist). Ham hocks are great for this, too.

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 12:59 PM - Reply

      I looked at your recipe before making mine. I might sous vide next time!

      • StefanGourmet September 1, 2021 at 5:32 PM

        I think the saltiness, acidity, and moistness of the meat are the most important variables gor this recipe.

  10. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats September 1, 2021 at 12:52 PM - Reply

    Your terrine looks perfect! I’ve made this dish a few times – but in commercial kitchens. I wouldn’t even think about making it at home. I admire your commitment! :)

    • chef mimi September 1, 2021 at 1:01 PM - Reply

      I don’t really know what the difference would be, since I’ve never cooked in a commercial kitchen. But thanks!

  11. Abbe@This is How I Cook September 1, 2021 at 1:34 PM - Reply

    Very nice Mimi. I am not a ham person but I applaud this dish! Personally the vinaigrette sounds perfect!

  12. sippitysup September 2, 2021 at 10:18 AM - Reply

    I’m in awe…GREG

    • chef mimi September 2, 2021 at 11:08 AM - Reply

      I don’t know why, Greg, but thanks!

  13. Ann Coleman September 2, 2021 at 3:48 PM - Reply

    I’m embarrassed to say what I first saw this post in my inbox, I thought it said, “James Patterson” and I was wondering why a mystery writer was writing a cookbook good enough that you would use one of its recipes…… Glad to find out I was wrong!

  14. Debra September 2, 2021 at 5:09 PM - Reply

    I don’t know a lot about cuisine, but I would know this is French! It’s elegant and very unique and would certainly make a statement at the table. :-)

    • chef mimi September 2, 2021 at 6:14 PM - Reply

      And, best of all, it’s wonderful! Thank you!

  15. Katherine | Love In My Oven September 2, 2021 at 11:24 PM - Reply

    French food is my husband’s favorite! He’d love this and I’d love that hit of saltiness.

  16. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons September 3, 2021 at 8:55 PM - Reply

    This brings back so many memories, it was a favorite of my mothers. Such a classic and beautiful dish. Thank you Mimi.

  17. Jeff the Chef September 4, 2021 at 10:15 AM - Reply

    This is a work of art, and a labor of love! I can’t imagine myself ever undertaking it, but can only hope that I’m one day lucky enough to have a slice!

    • chef mimi September 4, 2021 at 11:29 AM - Reply

      Yeah, but you can bake cakes! This was not hard at all. And worth it even if it was!

  18. Frank Fariello September 4, 2021 at 10:22 AM - Reply

    Marvelous! I haven’t had jambon persillé for a *long* time, back in my Paris years. Seems like yesterday and yet ages ago at the same time… I’d love a slice right now.

    • chef mimi September 4, 2021 at 11:30 AM - Reply

      It’s so good. My mother used to make pigs feet like this, and serve it as a salad. I loved that.

  19. David Scott Allen September 5, 2021 at 8:45 PM - Reply

    In with Greg — totally in awe (of you and the recipe). I definitely want to make this but will wait to make it with a couple of foodie friends for moral support!

    • chef mimi September 5, 2021 at 8:48 PM - Reply

      what?!! You guys are cwazzzyyyy!

    • chef mimi September 6, 2021 at 7:24 AM - Reply

      You guys, I wouldn’t do it if it was hard! Or tedious. It’s just layers!!!

  20. 2pots2cook September 6, 2021 at 3:54 AM - Reply

    BEYOND DELICIOUS ! Since I make my ” to publish ” list as it hits me, head cheese is something I plan to do for a long time……. This beauty is just an reminder that the season is here !!! :-) :-)

    • chef mimi September 6, 2021 at 7:23 AM - Reply

      Yes! I love it! I forgot it was called that. My mother always made it.

  21. Hannah Kaminsky September 6, 2021 at 11:02 AM - Reply

    Oh wow, you sure don’t see aspic like this much anymore… I definitely respect all the time and labor that goes into it.

    • chef mimi September 6, 2021 at 11:56 AM - Reply

      It seriously wasn’t hard. Just making the gelatin and layering with the ham. It was really special.

  22. Ben Maclain|Havocinthekitchen September 8, 2021 at 7:28 PM - Reply

    I’ve never made nor tried jambon persillé (well, I’ve only made other French terrine maybe once or twice), and I must admit this looks and sounds terrific! Yeah definitely it’s time-consuming, but the result 100% worth it. Impeccable job!

  23. Anonymous September 8, 2021 at 9:24 PM - Reply

    I really love this Mimi and looks wonderful !!! hugs!!

    • chef mimi September 9, 2021 at 9:19 AM - Reply

      thanks! It was wonderful.

  24. Gloria Roa Baker September 8, 2021 at 9:26 PM - Reply

    Mimi I dont know why the first time dont save my name , so I post again, really I love this jambon dish!

    • chef mimi September 9, 2021 at 9:19 AM - Reply

      Thank you Gloria!

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