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What To

What To Do With Ham Hocks

What to do with ham hocks

(aside from pea and ham soup)

 

Ham hocks are one of those ingredients that is synonymous with soup - pea and ham soup to be specific. We currently sell two different pea and ham soups, so it’s safe to say that we are fans. BUT - variety is the spice of life! So when you’re all pea and ham souped out (side note: is this possible?), what else can you use ham hocks for?


The good news is, ham hocks are really versatile. They usually don’t have a huge amount of meat on them compared to other cuts of pork, and instead have a lot of flavoursome connective tissue, fat and bone. This makes them ideal for flavouring other dishes - think soup (of course), greens, beans, cabbage, stock.

Hocks are often used to add extra flavour to American Southern style cooking (think Texas BBQ side dishes, collard greens, etc.). The key is to slow cook them with plenty of liquid so that the collagen inside can break down and infuse the liquid with a rich, salty and smoky flavour. The collagen will also give your sauce or soup a silky texture and a bit more body. 

Once they’re cooked, you can remove the skin and shred any meat to add to your dish.

Recipes

Potato, leek and ham hock soup

850g potatoes (about 4 cups)

2 leeks (white part only)

1 Free Range Ham Hock

6 cups of Free Range Chicken Bone Broth or stock

1 cup cream

1 brown onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp butter

2 bay leaves

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Black pepper (to taste)

Salt (to taste - ham hocks can be quite salty so you may not need much, if any)

 

Method: 

  1. Thoroughly wash leeks, then chop finely. Dice the brown onion, and crush the garlic. Add all of these to a pan with butter. Pick thyme leaves and sprinkle over.
  2. At the same time, peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.
  3. Saute leeks, onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, then transfer to a slow cooker set to high.
  4. Add bay leaves, potato, ham hock, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Leave to cook in the slow cooker on high until potatoes are tender (about 4 hours).
  5. Remove ham hock from the slow cooker, shred any meat left on the hock and set aside.
  6. Puree the soup mixture using either a stick blender or a food processor. Add in cream and meat and stir through, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Divide into bowls and garnish with a little extra thyme, then serve with crusty bread.

 

 

Ham Hock Stock

Ingredients:

1 - 2 Free Range Ham Hocks

1 large brown onion

2 carrots

2 sticks of celery

2 bay leaves

1 tsp peppercorns

1 small bunch of thyme

5L water

 

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a large stock pot and cover with approx 5L of water. Turn heat down to medium low and cook for approximately 4 hours or until the broth is well flavoured.
  2. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. 
  3. Grab your ham hock out and shred any remaining meat and put aside for use in other dishes.
  4. Optional step: allow broth to cool overnight so that the fat solidifies on top, then remove. You can then freeze or keep in your fridge for about 5 days.

 

Macaroni Cheese With Ham Hock

 

Ingredients:

1 Free Range Ham Hock

3 cups macaroni pasta

250mL double cream

¼ cup grated parmesan

1 cup cheddar and mozzarella cheese mix (shredded)

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Ingredients:

  1. The first step in this recipe is to make a ham stock using a ham hock (see recipe above). Make sure that when you do this you save the meat on your hock. When this is done, preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Take 3 cups of ham stock and add to a pot on a medium to high heat and allow it to reduce down to around 1/2 cup of liquid and set aside.
  3. Add butter to a pot with flour and mix until it forms a paste. Slowly add cream to your sauce, stirring constantly. Add parmesan cheese and ham stock and continue to stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. At the same time, cook your macaroni in a pot of boiling water (to packet directions - aiming for al dente), then strain.
  5. Mix macaroni and the cheese sauce together, plus the shredded meat from your ham hock.
  6. Add pasta into an oven safe dish and top with the shredded mozzarella and cheddar. You can also add some breadcrumbs at this stage if you want it to have some extra crunch.
  7. Pop the dish into the oven for 20 - 30 mins or until cheese is golden on top.