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Recipe of the Month: Braised Ham Hock

Chef Victor shares one of his favourite holiday recipes. Good Irish comfort food to share with family and friends and warm the soul.

We’ve chosen this recipe to share with you for a couple good reasons. It’s simple, it tastes delicious, and it just feels right on a cold winter night. This is a very easy dish to execute and the flavors that develop are something else. To be honest anything properly braised has a place in my heart.

Slow cooking otherwise tough cuts of meat has to be the all-time best way of cooking and developing flavor. Using smoked ham hocks rather than regular ham hocks kicks this dish into a very good direction. If your hock isn’t falling off the bone, be patient and cook it longer. Don’t worry you can cook and shred the meat the day before your party. It holds nicely.

Smoked Ham Hock

1.5kg ham hocks (preferably smoked)
3  celery sticks
1 large carrot
1 large onion
2 bay leaves
1 stalk rosemary or thyme
4 cloves garlic crushed
50 ml apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
Enough water to completely cover hocks

This should make approximately 500g of finished Pulled Ham Hock

This dish is perfect for a crock pot if you have one. If you don’t have a crock pot…. worry not, use a dish or pan that is deep enough to allow liquid to cover the Ham hocks. Place Ham hocks in your chosen vessel and add the rest of the ingredients. Add enough water to submerge the ham hocks completely. Cover with aluminum foil or a lid and place in a 275F oven or crock pot for 4-5 hours. Timing can vary, what you are looking for is the meat is falling off the bone.

Once ready, separate the meat from the ham broth (the liquid is now a ham broth). Allow meat to cool slightly and then shred it with your hands, discard the fat and bones. You now have a ham broth, this could be used to make a nice gravy or a soup. Really it’s up to you, you can even freeze the broth if you don’t plan on using it soon.

At Dubh Linn Gate we mix the shredded ham hocks with a little bit of Grainy Dijon mustard, parsley, shallots, chives, and a splash of ham broth. You could serve these on crostini’s as a little holiday Canape, maybe a pickled pearl onion with it.

For a nice holiday dinner I recommend, serving some Ham hock, sautéed savoy cabbage, Mashed potatoes, gravy and a side of mustard. Simple and good, very Irish.

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