Cranberry Ham Hock with Maple Syrup and Rosemary

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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. 

Ham Hock

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. 


Jump straight to the recipe for Cranberry Ham Hock with Maple Syrup and Rosemary

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Cranberry Ham Hock with Maple Syrup and Rosemary
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Cranberry Ham Hock with Maple Syrup and Rosemary


    per person (although 1 ham hock is a lot, I always share mine or save leftovers)
  • 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


  • Most ham hocks should be soaked in water overnight to reduce the salt content but do check with your butcher or the packaging. Mine (from my local farmer's market) didn't require it. But if it does, be sure to soak it overnight and discard the water the next day.
  • Prepare the marinade by putting all of the marinade ingredients except the cider in a pot and bringing to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently until the cranberries soften. Should take up to 15 minutes to half an hour. Allow to cool.
  • Prepare the ham hock by stabbing it with a sharp knife in several places to allow the marinade to penetrate. Cover the ham hock with the now cooled marinade and massage it in. Leave to marinade for as long as you can, overnight is best but for a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 deg C. Put the hock and all of the marinade in a small casserole that will fit it snugly. Pour the cider down the side and cover with a lid or some kitchen foil. Roast for an hour, removing half way through to baste it with the marinade and cider.
  • Remove the lid or foil and increase the heat to 200 deg C. Roast for a further 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes and making sure that the marinade doesn't dry out. (Add water or cider if it looks like it might).
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes with the lid on. Serve the hock with the gorgeous cranberry sauce.
  • Enjoy!
  • Serve with: I served mine with Palestinian maftoul which I served with toasted pistachios, fried onion slices (fried until brown) and parsley. Cous cous or rice would work just as well too.



    Written by Niamh
    Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.