Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Whole Hog Part 3 Braised Hock

Image Credit Porc Wales

 In my continuing effort to try preparing and eating as much of a half a pig as possible, today I cooked some hocks. The hock is the portion of the leg above the trotters and below the knee. I had four to cook and this was the first time I've prepared them. 

 I cleaned them by covering them with cold water in a deep pan which I brought up to the boil and then drained after 3 minutes of rapid boiling. 
I drained them and refreshed them under cold water. I have a washing up bowl that I keep purely for food preparation and I sterilise it with vinegar after I have used it for meat or fish products.

I scored the skin to allow all the flavours to infuse.

I then returned them to the pan, covered them again in water and added some seasoning. These included pink peppercorns, fennel, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, paprika and bay leaves. In hindsight I should have added the cloves later in the cooking as I didn't want the meat to taste too strongly of clove so scooped them out after half an hour. It would have been easier to just add them later on!

I brought the water to the boil and then turned it down to a simmer. 

After an hour I added two small diced onions and two small cored apples and continued to simmer gently the hocks for a further two hours.

I lifted the hocks from the stock (they were hard to pull out as the meat was falling away from the bones) and using a knife and fork removed the skin and fat from the meat. They didn't look terribly pretty or appetising at this stage, but they did smell wonderful.
I returned the bones and fat to the pan and continued to reduce the liquid to create some stock.
 Mr J and I had well filled hock & BBQ sauce sandwiches for lunch and after it had cooled,  I froze the remainder of the meat for use at a later date. As this was pork (rather than having been cured to make ham), I think next time I would add some salt to the stock during cooking.

The four hocks cost around £12 and yielded 1lb 6oz of lean cooked meat, which is enough for four meals for the two of us (8 good portions of meat). I will certainly be buying hocks again and next time will try curing them.

I bought this free range pork from Martha who I know and like the way she cares for her animals. 
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