Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Ham hock peas and leeks
Had to make this thoroughly lush dish because the title made me laugh.
I am still on a ham hock mission and the one that's been in the freezer for a couple of weeks has had me wondering about many possible incarnations. Then I found this recipe on the Daylesford's site and was instantly smitten. It sounded simple and tasty and definitely in season - and it was vastly better than I was expecting. The stock gives it a lovely depth and the combination of cream and butter makes it really decadently silky and rich. Soft ribbons of leeks mix with the sweet crunch of peas and the clean taste of fresh parsley. Quite wonderful, especially for a Monday night.
The Passionate Cook is hosting the current 'Waiter there's something in my...' event - which is a fun way of having random bloggers give their own interpretation of a theme. I have read them occasionally and sometimes been tempted to submit a post but this is the first time I've felt it all fitted together for me. It is based aroung bistro food and it strikes me that this dish would be a delightful thing to find on such a menu. If bistro food is about simply prepared, simple to serve, tasty to eat and preferably goes well with lots of bread to mop juices then it ticks every box. Both slow food and quick, you cook the hock well in advance, then when time comes for eating it's ready in fifteen minutes.
I started Saturday as I pottered about doing those damned domestic drudgeries...
Simmer the hock in water with a few aromatics for a couple of hours while you get on with doing other things then let the hock cool in the stock. Strip the meat from the bone in largish pieces and keep the skin separately. Strain and boil the stock to reduce it by half. Put the cooled stock and the meat into the fridge till you're ready to use them. Divide the skin into two and freeze separately for adding, finely chopped, to add lushness to lentils for another meal. All this takes ten minutes of active time so hardly even rates as a distraction.
Ham hock peas and leeks
1 ham hock, cooked as above
25ml olive oil
50g unsalted butter
200g shelled peas - I used frozen
30g flat-leaved parsley
Pour olive oil into a large sauté pan and toss the leeks gently over a medium heat until well coated with oil, season with salt and pepper, add butter and cook slowly for about ten minutes.
Add 100ml of reserved ham stock and cream to the leeks, reduce by half, then add the peas and simmer for approximately 3 minutes then add the pieces of hock. Simmer for another minute or two until the ham is warmed through and the peas are just cooked. Stir through the parsley.
Serve in a warm bowl with lots of fresh crusty bread - I bought a white loaf from St John which is some of the nicest bread made.
A most perfect meal.