Thank goodness for Saturday’s! Woke up after my dozey slumber and was pleasantly surprised by a few things.
No.1 gorgeous sunny day outside, (yes) I can do the washing,
No.2 lovely cured ham hock in the fridge and better yet an assortment of yummy things to accompany it.
No. 3 Tonight begins the Tour de France and my sweetheart is somewhat addicted to the race, (being an outdoorsy, fishing type guy who also does Mountain biking)
I on the other hand am a bit clumsy when it comes to fishing, I’m terribly frightened of snakes, spiders and even worse…Goanna’s (near my least favourite picnic spot. If you’ve never seen one, let’s just say you’re lucky!)
Anyhow, I digress.
I can’t ride to save myself so basically, can’t fish, scared of reptiles and won’t be taking up mountain biking anytime soon.
Nonetheless, road races come reptile free. That and Gabriel Gatê’s taste de le tour and the European countryside will keep us up late for the next 21 days.
So to kick things off, I’ve cooked a little wintertime Braised Ham Hock with Cider, which seems appropriate as we begin in Belgium on Le Tour tonight…see you at the end…
I love the combination of cider and cured meats. There’s a little sweetness with some added honey and a bit of heat from these peppercorns too. Feel free to mix it up with your salads or steamed veg, for me it has to be a crunchy winterslaw with some apple and radishes for some tang…enjoy!
Time: 2 & 1/2 hrs for the slow braise
1 cured ham hock, will feed two and give you some yummy ham for sandwiches the following day.
Few celery stalks, chopped
3 bay leaves,
2 crushed garlic cloves,
1 tbsp of peppercorns,
1 cup of puy lentils,
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
1 small bottle of alcoholic cider,
Few tbsp of Worcestershire sauce & honey
1 cup of green beans, sliced thinly
1 cup of cabbage, also sliced into thin strips chiffonade
couple of radishes
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped Mint leaves to garnish,
You’ll also need a large casserole dish, mixing bowl, a grater or mandolin, a large jar, tongs and spoons.
Preheat the oven to 180C or (356F.) Place the Ham Hock into the casserole dish. Add the lentils, chopped onions & celery along with the bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns.
Pour the cider into the jar and add the honey and Worcestershire sauce. Shake until contents are combined and pour over the top of the ham hock & veg. Fill the jar with a half cup of water and pour into the casserole dish too.
Bake in the oven for 2 hrs, check every half hour and stir the veggie, lentils and turn the ham. After the completed cooking time, rest the ham for 1/2 hr in the oven with the lid off to allow the glaze to thicken.
Slice the beans, cabbage, radishes and apple using the grater or mandolin.
Blanch the beans in some hot water and refresh in (iced water) to preserve their colour.
Toss the greens & apple with the lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste and finish with the mint leaves to garnish. Serve on the side with the braised ham, lentils and juices from the pot, crusty bread optional of course!