I cooked this on telly some years ago and it’s been a christmas favourite ever since. The skin and fat take on a really powerful flavour, and they look stunning.
4 brined ham hocks
2 carrots, peeled but left whole
2 celery sticks
½ leek, washed well but left whole
2 onions, peeled but left whole
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
1 head of garlic
For the Glaze
400g dark muscovado sugar
350ml dry cider
4 tablespoons tamarind paste
4 tablespoons olive oil
100g runny honey
2 tablespoons english mustard/ english mustard powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Soak the hocks in cold water overnight.
Drain the hocks and wash them really well, then place in a deep pan. Fill with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then taste the water: if it’s salty, tip away the water and refill, but if okay, add a little salt to the water.
Reduce the heat still further until the water is just simmering and cook for 15 minutes. Skim off any scum, then add all the veg, peppercorns and herbs. Cook for a further 2 hours 15 minutes.
Turn the heat off and leave the hocks to cool, then chill in the fridge in their stock.
The next day, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
Lift the chilled hocks out of the jellied stock and rinse off any jelly clinging to the hocks.
Leaving the large bone in the joint, pull out the second smaller bone, then trim off the rind and discard. Lightly score the meat that’s left and place on a non-stick baking tray.
Mix all the glaze ingredients together really well, then pour over the hocks and place in the hot oven. Cook for 20–25 minutes, spooning the glaze over repeatedly until well glazed.
Serve in deep bowls and just pull off the meat in large chunks. I eat this hot or cold with buttery mashed potatoes.