I have a special place in my heart for ham hocks. Certainly, not the most attractive ingredient to hold a fondness for, but I put it down to my inner cheapskate. I love the idea that for very little money you can produce something delicious. This ham hock recipe doesn't use gelatin, but if you prefer a firmer setting you could add a leaf of gelatin to the cooking liquid once the ham hocks are cooked. You can also make the terrine in individual Kilner jars to serve.
- 4kg ham hock (about 2 large or 4 smaller ham hocks)
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- small handful of thyme
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 onion, peeled and roughly cut into pieces
- 3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into small cubes
- 60ml white wine vinegar
- generous handful of flat-leaf parsley,finely chopped
- Place the ham hocks in a large pot with the peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 3 hours or until the meat is incredibly tender and falling off the bone. You can check this using a fork.
- About 45 minutes before the meat is done, add the vegetables and cook until they are tender. When they are cooked, remove the vegetables from the liquid with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove the ham hocks from the liquid once they are tender and set aside to cool. Pour out the cooking liquid, leaving 1.2 litres in the pot.
- Add the vinegar to the remaining cooking liquid and bring to a steady boil for about 1 hour or until it has reduced by at least half. You will need roughly 600ml to set the terrine.
- When the ham hocks have cooled, remove the skin and shred the meat. Place the shredded meat in a bowl with the parsley and toss until completely coated.
- Line a 900g loaf tin or terrine mould with two layers of cling film, leaving extra over the sides. Layer the shredded meat and reserved vegetables into the mould and then press down firmly.
- Slowly pour some of the reduced cooking liquid into the terrine, allowing it to work its way through all the layers. Cover with a little more cling film and leave in the fridge to set overnight.
- To serve, turn the terrine out on to a chopping board and peel away the cling film. Dip a knife in boiling water and cut the terrine into slices. Serve with garden leaves and a tangy white wine vinaigrette.
More by Donal Skehan:
- Donal Skehan's Creme Brulee Doughnuts
- Butterscotch Pudding: One for the grown ups!
- Treacle Beef Ribs, Cheesy Polenta: Donal Skehan