Honey-roast ham hock with mustard sauce

Serves 4

Why don't more of us cook ham at home? Just boil the meat, wait for it to cool down and then carve some off to have between slices of bread. You can, of course, make a little more effort and throw in a couple of onions and carrots, a handful of peppercorns and some herbs to add flavour to your stock, which you can then transform into pea and ham soup or a good ham broth. Once you've boiled the ham, you can then roast it to give it a luscious sticky coat and serve it hot or cold. Cooking individual ham hocks for guests gives you and them more of the delicious outside edge.

Why don't more of us cook ham at home? Just boil the meat, wait for it to cool down and then carve some off to have between slices of bread. You can, of course, make a little more effort and throw in a couple of onions and carrots, a handful of peppercorns and some herbs to add flavour to your stock, which you can then transform into pea and ham soup or a good ham broth. Once you've boiled the ham, you can then roast it to give it a luscious sticky coat and serve it hot or cold. Cooking individual ham hocks for guests gives you and them more of the delicious outside edge.

4 unsmoked ham hocks or knuckles weighing 300-400g each and soaked overnight in water, to remove any excess salt
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
5 cloves
1tsp black peppercorns
A few sprigs of thyme for the sauce
3-4 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
40g butter
1tbsp flour
1/2tsp tomato purée
2tsp Dijon mustard
2tsp grain mustard
60ml white wine
300ml beef stock, or a good stock cube that has been dissolved in that amount of hot water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the glaze

200g clear honey
60g grain mustard

Wash the ham hocks in cold water and put them into a large pot with the onions, carrots, bay leaf, cloves and peppercorns. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 21/2 to 3 hours. Remove the hocks from the cooking liquid and leave to cool. You can save the liquid to make soup.

Meanwhile, gently cook the shallots in the butter without colouring for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add the flour and tomato purée and stir well. Add the mustards and slowly stir in the white wine. Slowly add the beef stock, stirring well to avoid lumps forming, season and simmer for 20 minutes.

Once the ham hocks are cool enough to handle (you can cheat and run them under cold water) remove and discard most of the outer layer of fat with a knife, leaving about 1/2cm of fat to protect the meat when roasting. Carefully remove the smaller bone by twisting and pulling it out, leaving the larger bone attached to the meat. If the hocks are large, you can remove some of the meat and use it for a salad or sandwiches, or as a garnish for a soup.

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Mix the honey and mustard together to form a paste. Put the ham hocks into a baking tray lined with tin foil to prevent the tray burning and score the fat in a criss-cross fashion, then spread the honey over the ham hocks. Bake for about 30 minutes, basting the hocks every so often until they are golden.

Bring the sauce back to the boil and serve poured around the hock. Serve with a puréed root vegetable, such as celeriac, colcannon or pease pudding.

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