Smoked honey and mustard baked ham hocks

Serves 4-6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

A ham hock is a really economical cut of meat to cook and most butchers these days can't give them away. One of the best I've eaten is from Richardson's Smokehouse in the Suffolk village of Orford. They smoke them until they're almost burnt and then douse them with local honey and mustard. If you can't buy a pre-smoked ham hock, unsmoked will do, or just use a piece of raw smoked ham. Once cooked, it will last a few days in the fridge or as a part of a cold feast.

2 smoked ham hocks weighing about 1kg each
1 litre medium cider
2 onions, peeled and halved
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
2tbsp grain mustard
4-5tbsp clear honey
2tbsp brown sugar

Soak the ham hocks overnight in cold water then rinse them. Put them into a large saucepan with the cider, onions, carrots, peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme and add water to cover them well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-21/2 hours, topping up with water if necessary until the meat is tender and almost coming away from the bone. Drain and leave to cool a little. Reserve the cooking liquor for a soup or broth.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 5. Mix together the honey, mustard and sugar. Put the hocks into a roasting tray lined with foil and spread them with the honey and mustard. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, basting every 15 minutes or so until they are caramelised. Serve as a hot main course or sliced cold.

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