Life Style

Mark Hix laments the lost art of boiling a ham

A few weeks ago, I was down in Salcombe at Angus Lugsdins gin distillery. Its situated on the quay, an amazing setting.

Theres also a gin school where you can make your own in a little copper still. While my friend Paddy took advantage of the pure spirit, I grabbed a bag of the spent botanicals to take home to my roast ham.

Why don't more of us cook ham at home? My gran used to boil a ham hock religiously every week. She would just boil the meat, wait for it to cool down and then carve some off to have between slices of bread or with parsley sauce.

Once you've boiled it, you can use botanicals to give it a luscious, sticky coat, roast it up and serve it hot or cold. To give you and your guests more of the delicious outside edge, try cooking individual ham hocks.

Salcombe botanical roast ham hock

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 smoked or unsmoked ham hocks weighing 300-400g each, soaked overnight in water to remove any excess salt
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cloves
  • 1tsp black peppercorns

For the sauce

  • 2 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2tsp Tewkesbury mustard
  • 2tsp original mustard
  • 60ml cider
  • 300ml ham stock
  • 100ml milk
  • 2-3tbps chopped parsley

To finish

  • 200g clear honey
  • 60g original mustard
  • Put the ham hocks into a large pot with the onions, carrots, bay leaf, cloves and peppercorns. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • Cook the shallots in the butter without colouring for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add the flour, then the mustards and slowly stir in the cider. Add the ham stock and milk, stirring well to avoid lumps, season and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the hocks and discard most of the outer layer of fat, leaving about 1/2cm to protect the meat when roasting. Carefully remove the smaller bone by twisting and pulling it out, leaving the larger bone attached to the meat.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Scoare the fat in a criss-cross fashion.
  • Mix the honey and mustard together to form a paste, then spread the honey over the ham hocks. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Original Article

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