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.
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 bay leaves,
3-4 crushed garlic cloves,
1 tbsp of peppercorns,
1 cup of puy lentils,
1/2 leek or 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
1 750ml bottle of alcoholic cider,
1/3 Worcestershire sauce & honey (optional.)
2 cups of white cabbage, sliced thinly
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle,
1 lemon, zested & juiced.
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped parsley 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 220C (426F.) Place the Ham Hock into the casserole dish. Add the lentils, chopped onions & celery along with the bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns.
If using the honey, then combine the cider, honey (optional) and Worcestershire sauce in a jar. Shake until it’s combined.
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.
Braise in the oven for 1/2 hrs. Check again and reduce the heat to 180C (356F).
After 1 hour, check again. 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 (and door slightly ajar,) to allow the juices to thicken upon standing..
Slice cabbage and chop the parsley leaves for garnish.
Toss the cabbage & lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle generously with olive oil & finish with the parsley leaves to garnish.
Serve on the side with the braised ham, lentils and delicious juices from the pot. Crusty bread optional of course!
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