Christmas ham is a tradition and there are many ways of doing it. I love tucking in on Christmas Eve, most regularly at my sisters. They do a superb traditional ham with cloves and honey and mustard. It is divine.
It is an excellent idea to do a big ham if you have a group of people mulling around grazing over Christmas, and isn’t that what Christmas is all about? But what if there are not so many of you, or you just want something a little different? What about a small ham of your own or a tray of individual hams for a group for supper? Ham hock is the one, it is so good and so underrated. Terrific value too, I buy mine for roughly £3 from the farmer at my local farmer’s market.
You can get ham hock smoked or unsmoked, I prefer unsmoked for this recipe. Ham hock makes a wonderful soup allowed to bubble gently with carrots, celery and onions, a bay leaf and a bouquet garni or whatever suitable herbs you have like rosemary. A couple of hours should do it. Make sure you soak it first or your broth will be very salty. When almost finished dunk in frozen peas and you will have a sublime pea and ham soup. Shred the meat from the bone, it should just fall off, and serve with the broth, some veg and the peas, brighten it with some mint).
This ham hock with its self saucing marinade would make a terrific supper or lunch around the Christmas season, heck, it doesn’t even need to be made at Christmas, it is a super delicious thing that deserves a place at your table at any time. It is super easy and all it takes is time, the longer that you can marinade the ham the better. My recipe is for one, as I most regularly cook for one (myself!) but you can double, treble, quadruple, whatever you need to do. In fact, I think these would look wonderful on a big platter with some orange zest and lots of parsley crowning them.
- 1 ham hock (I used unsmoked)
- 300g fresh cranberries
- zest of one orange and one lemon
- juice of two oranges and one lemon
- 100ml maple syrup
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, needles removed and finely chopped
- 250ml cider