Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ham & Leek Patties

Ham & Leek Patties

I bought a ham hock on Saturday from Silfield. I was looking for something cheap and interesting for dinner Saturday. At the bus stop before the market the man suggested ham, egg and chips which sounded a like a bit too much faff so I settled on this idea instead which I think is probably four times as much faff as his suggestion. I never learn.

However just have a look at those little beauties and tell me you wouldn't like one. I'm pleased to say that the end result was decidedly fab. But even I have to admit it took a long time getting there, though mostly not involving large amounts of actual work. It was Saturday after all.

A hock is a bit of a treasure. It is cured along with the hams and bacon and sold separately as they are equal measures of meat, fat, skin and bone. Nature's stock cube. They are cheap - £2.95 for a meaty hock that weighed 1.3kg and they yield an awful lot with not much effort. To start I simply simmered it for a couple of hours with a few aromatics giving me cooked meat, a pile of ham fat and skin, and a litre of well flavoured stock. Already a result.

The stock I froze for risotto along with half the meat. The other half of the meat I roughly shredded for my patties. Earlier in the day I dried out some leftover bread I'd frozen in bits, then blitzed it in the processor for fresh crumbs. I've been hankering for fishcakes lately - for the potato and crumbs fried till crispy as much as anything. Winter comfort.

Using the same kind of principles I use for fishcakes I finally served these up about 8.30 Saturday night. We'd been out to the cinema to see Slumdog - and no I would not recommend it - in the afternoon and got home about 4. Which is when I put the hock on to cook... might have been better if I'd cooked it earlier. Or made the patties next day.

Ham & Leek Patties

About 200g cooked ham, shredded - obviously you could just buy a piece...
About 200g floury potatoes
2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced
1 egg
1/2 tspn fresh grated nutmeg
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Peel and cook the potatoes in boiling salted water till just cooked. Drain in a colander then put them back into the saucepan and mash them, without adding any milk or butter. Add the shredded ham, sliced leeks, nutmeg and egg and mix thoroughly so that all the chunky bits are evenly distributed through the potato. Taste a bit and season accordingly.

Put the breadcrumbs onto a flat plate.

Divide the mix into six equal portions and shape into patties. Dunk them into the crumbs to cover them generously all over. Put them onto a plate and refrigerate for at least half an hour so that they will firm up and not fall apart in the hot oil.

Heat half a centimetre of oil in the bottom of a heavy pan till very hot. Add the patties, cover with a lid, and reduce the heat only slightly. After about 5 minutes they should be crispy golden on the underside. Flip them carefully with a spatula and cook, uncovered for another 5-8 minutes till they are gold all over.

Whent they are cooked take them out of the pan and rest on a plate covered with kitchen paper to remove any grease.

Perfect served with beetroot and barley salad for a really good dinner. And very nice cold next day.

Total cost is about £1.50 given what else I can do with the rest of the hock stock and meat. Bargain!


Angie said...

Oooooooooooooo - I'm going all wobbly at the knees! I cooked, mashed and froze 5kg of spuds last week, there's a leek in the fridge and himself has got his mobile on for a change so he's bringing a hock in from town. Half a loaf of dry bread is begging to become crumbs - I've got it all. YAY!! Thanks for the inspiration!

bron said...

Fabulous - and yours will be done way quicker than mine!

Anne said...

They sound yummy bron! I keep reading about these bargain hocks, will have to make a better effort to find!

I am slowly learning to not attempt long winded cooking when there isn't really the time but sometimes you just gotta cook! :)

bron said...

Anne I'm sure any good butcher will sell them - you could ask them to keep you one or order you one. They reward they offer is much greater than the small amount of work required.

Have been known to get half way through a complicated midweek supper and change the desired end result when I realise it's still going to be another hour...