How to cook a ham hock, creating amazing ham.
You will be hard pressed to find a more simple method of cooking something but many people are unsure about ham hocks because they are a little different to a standard cut of meat.
Ham or gammon is from the hind leg after it has been cured. The ham hock is simply the lowest part of the leg, the Germans are particularity fond of this joint and it is often used in Chinese cooking.
Lamb shanks are the same joint, their popularity with braised lamb shanks appearing on many menus, is a good indication of the potential offered by the ham hock.
The average ham hock we sell is only £2.50, a trip to Waitrose and you will find 180g of "Pulled Ham Hock" for £3.00!
This is how you can simply cook your own.
I start with soaking the Hock for 24 hours before cooking. I'm not entirely sure this is necessary it is just something that I have always done. (Probably from the traditional curing methods)
Replenish the water before cooking. I like to add a couple of bay leaves from the garden along with some peppercorns.
I often add an onion this really works if you are making a leek and ham soup.
Adding Star Anise works really well too.
Cover with water and put a lid on. Patience is now required. Bring the pan to the boil and turn it to a low simmer straight away. For this joint I left it for 3 hours gently bubbling away.
It really is as simple as that, slow and long cooking and the meat is really tender.
Use a meat thermometer to check it is cooked through - we have some in the shop, they don't cost a lot and you can be sure all your meat is cooked to the minimum temperature required, very useful.
At the end of cooking send the fussy eaters out of the kitchen and drain the water away. Place the joint on a surface and leave for a moment.
This next bit you want to do as soon as possible - without burning yourself!! Start with removing the skin. I get some kitchen roll as a heat shield grab the skin using the kitchen roll and peel it back, cutting any fat away as close to the meat as possible.
Next just pull all the meat from the bones discarding all the bits that you don't fancy - most pets love these bits.
(not these bones we do have some in the shop for your dogs!)
You are left with loads of seriously tasty ham and all this for an average price of just £2.50