July 10th, 2012

Ham hock ham stock

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This was my first ever attempt at ham stock. I’ve noticed ham hocks popping up around the place lately: at our local butcher (where this lovely smoky specimen was found), the gourmet supermarket across the road, even at the big chain supermarket down the street. I don’t know if they’ve always been readily available and I just noticed them, or if its a new trend. They are nice and cheap, and easy to cook, and great for the cold winter we are having in Melbourne at the moment.

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I took the hock, nestled it in a pot with 1 brown onion (quartered), 4 garlic cloves (whole), 2 carrots (peeled and chopped) 3 bay leaves, 2 celery stalks, a bunch of parsley, a few peppercorns. No salt (because, of course, ham is salty). And nice clean water.

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After about 4 hours of very gentle simmering and skimming, the ham should be pulling away and falling off the bone, and the stock should be deeply coloured and very tasty.

Now its just a matter of removing skin from the hock (the skin is tough and inedible), stripping the meat off the bone, and straining the stock. I added a little salt here (the ham wasn’t quite as salty as I expected).

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The end result: delicious sweet smoky ham; delicious, gelatinous stock. I ended up using both the ham and stock for a lentil soup (recipe coming soon), but it would be great for all sorts of things.

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