Hock and roll

For the most part, we’re people of comfort – we like staying in our comfort zones, cooking the things we’re used to. Perhaps this is in part due to our schedules, juggling work, family, friends and keeping a house in order. Sometimes we just don’t have those moment to flick through a cookbook and decide that we’ll cook something new and experimental.

I’m as guilty of it as the next; there are plenty of things I’ve never turned my hand to and things I promise myself I’ll do and never get round to; I’m still planning on a month of Thai at some point…

Ham hocks are a cut I’ve never tried to do myself before; the few times I’ve tried to buy them they haven’t been available, perhaps because they’ve become one of the fashionable cheaper cuts. A hock should set you back more than four or five quid, and that’s talking London prices.

They make great stock and you’ll have some tasty nuggets of meat to throw into a salad with fennel, goat’s cheese and a mustardy dressing; to slip into the silky folds of a mac’n’cheese, or perhaps simply to stuff in between a couple of slices of fluffy white bread with French’s mustard, dill pickles and maybe just a lick of mayo. The bits of ham you shred off are great for carbonara or for making a delicious hash fried till crisp with bits of potato and topped with a poached egg. You can also remove the skin and coat them with honey and mustard or a jerk rub. Check with your butcher whether you’re getting hot smoked (ie already cooked) or cured/brined. Some are even lightly smoked – requiring cooking too.

They’re dead easy to cook – click here for the ridiculously simple recipe.

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