My family even at their poorest have managed to eat well and make the most of whatever has come their way even though the ingredients may not have been the most expensive cut but whatever they have had has always ended up being extremely tasty and going a long way. Extremely important when there have been children in the house with never-ending appetites.
Both my grandmothers' and my mum have always advocated the use of the ham hock, utilising it for the meat, using it hot to make a meal with some mashed potato, onion sauce and a green veg to make a tasty midweek meal (My mum's um had 10 children to feed so at least a couple of the ham hocks were used. Thereafter using the meat in sandwiches for pack up for the family, sometimes plain, sometimes with mustard, and these days sometimes with salad. If there is still ham left over sometimes this was put into quiche, sometimes as a dressing to go with hot pea soup or you can pot it. Then of course there is the stock from the ham hock which can be frozen into individual cubes and then added to gravy or decanted into bags ready for using as the base of a home made soup. So you basically use everything and then the dog gets the bone as a perk.
I have gone to the meat market recently in Peterborough and this is where I sourced these ham hocks which are quite large for £2.99 each. When you consider how much sliced ham costs this works out as a very economic version.
They are not difficult to prepare and make good eating.
You will need:
1 reasonable sized ham hock (you can soak these in cold water overnight to remove any salt)
black peppercorns 4
Wash the ham hock down and soak overnight it you think it may be a tad salty and then taking a pan that will fit your ham hock pop the hock in the pan and then cover with cold water (sometimes you cannot completely cover it but as long as it is at least half way or above the hock that should be okay). bring to the boil - there will be a foamy scum develop as the hock boils - throw this water away refill with fresh water and then bring back to the boil again then add the bay leaf, peppercorns, white pepper carrot chopped into sticks, quartered onion or shallots and continue cooking until the meat is cooked.approximately 1 1/2 hours or until meat is cooked.
Lift hock out of stock and place in a bowl or on a plate. If using a bowl you can add the stock and then once cooled down pop in the fridge. The stock will jellify but storing it this way will keep it moist. I leave the fat on and only strip it off with a hock just prior to slicing as yet again it keeps the meat moist. You can use the stock but if dealing with it this way I keep it in the fridge and just add it to sauces gravies etc fresh fro the fridge. The fat tends to go very rubbery but it is a good protector for the meat.
If however I decant it on to a plate I cover with foil and then decant the stock either into ice cube trays or into soup/stock bags and pop it in the freezer for making soup at a later date.
As you can see there is a lot of meat to be had from this large hock and at £2.99 you cannot go far wrong. If there is still some meat left over but not enough to do much with - freeze it and keep adding the remnants of meat to the freezer as at some point you will have enough either to serve with sarnies or add to soups or do whatever else you want to do with it in the spirit of waste not want not.
As they say with Pork you eat everything but the squeak.
Catch you soon.