Celery baked in ham and cheese recipe image

Print Celery baked in ham and cheese

An unusual, thrifty and delicious main course of celery wrapped in ham and oven-baked in a creamy cheese sauce. Experiment with cheese other than Cheddar – Parmesan and blue cheese are both good. Serve with boiled new potatoes or mash.

Ingredients

  • 1 head celery stalks, cut in half (widthways)
  • 4 thin slices ham
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 200ml milk
  • 100ml cooking liquid from celery
  • 50g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C/Gas 4. In a pan of boiling, salted water, simmer the celery for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 100ml of the cooking liquid.
  2. When cool enough to handle, take 3 or 4 stalk halves and wrap a piece of ham around each bundle. Place in a buttered baking dish.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and gently cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk and reserved cooking liquid, whisking if necessary, until the sauce is smooth. Return to the heat and add half the grated cheese. Heat, stirring, until the sauce has thickened (do not let the mixture boil).
  4. Pour the sauce over the celery, add a good grinding of black pepper and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the top is bubbling and browned.
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