Crisp ham hock with plum chutney

Ham hock and plum chutney. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Ham hock and plum chutney. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Sat, Sep 14, 2013, 12:11

   
  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking Time: 120 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Fusion

Ingredients

  • FOR THE HAM HOCK:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • Few sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few whole black peppercorns
  • 2 ham hocks
  • 250ml cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • FOR THE CHUTNEY:
  • 125 ml cider vinegar
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 plums, stoned and chopped
  • Big knob ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and very finely diced

Method

Serves 4-6. In a large saucepan which you have a lid for, heat up the olive oil and roughly sweat the onion, garlic, celery and carrot. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Add in a few peppercorns and then gently place the ham hocks in the saucepan. You don’t need to do any prep to them at all.

Then top up with enough water to cover the ham hocks, add the cider vinegar and bring up to simmer, occasionally skimming any scum that rises to the surface.

Cook them gently for at least two hours. Let them settle and cool down in the water for about 30 minutes and then gently fish them out and set-aside until they are cool enough to handle.

You can keep the stock, but strain it and get rid of the vegetable debris. You can reduce it down by half – if fridge space is an issue – and save it as a delicious and salty base for a lovely soup.

Discard the really fatty bits of the ham hock, tear the meat into shards and then place it on a roasting tray and drizzle the honey over it.

Grill it until really crisp (and then avoid nibbling on it until ready to serve). It is also delicious tossed through salads and can be used in many pasta dishes to give sublime flavour. But I love it with buttered toast, chutney and a crisp green salad.

For the quick plum chutney, put all the ingredients together in a saucepan with a lid on and gently cook together until simmering and bubbling. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and season. Chill down until ready to serve.

dkemp@irishtimes.com

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