Brussels sprouts, smoked ham hock, potatoes

Brussels sprouts, smoked ham hock, potatoes

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

Brussels sprouts can be very divisive, with our love–hate relationship apparently stemming from a genetic sensitivity to bitterness, found in approximately half of the population. Either way, boiling the sprouts to death does them no favours, releasing lots of unpleasant sulphur. Like all vegetables, they are best eaten as soon as possible after harvesting and grilling them helps to develop a sweet, nutty richness that is hard to resist whatever your genetic make-up.

There is something about smoked ham hocks I take comfort in; they are rich, smoky and salty. Each year in the restaurant we work with a local smokehouse to smoke batches of free-range pork hocks that are sourced from a single family–owned farm on the Darling Downs. The 10,000 acres of fertile pasture ensure that the pigs can forage around finding food in a stress-free environment, which makes for better tasting pork. The creaminess of the potato rounds the dish, which rides a beautiful balance between bitter, sweet and salty.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 540g smoked free-range ham hock
750ml chicken stock
250ml white wine
1 brown onion, halved
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 celery stalk, roughly chopped
500g dutch cream potatoes
475g rock salt
350g brussel sprouts
olive oil
sea salt

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers.
  2. 2. Preheat your wood-fired oven to 200°C (390°F). Roast the ham hock in the oven for 10–15 minutes until golden brown.
  3. 3. In a large flameproof casserole dish, add the ham hock, stock, white wine, onion, carrot and celery. Braise either on the stovetop or in the wood-fired oven at 120°C (250°F) for 2–3 hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Allow to cool, strain the stock into a jug, remove and discard the vegetables, and pull the meat off the bone. Place the ham into a cast-iron pan and cover with the strained stock. Set aside.
  4. 4. Meanwhile, wash and thoroughly dry the potatoes. Spread the salt out on a baking tray that is large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer. Arrange the potatoes on top and bake in the wood-fired oven at 200°C (390°F) for 50 minutes until the potatoes are tender in the middle. Remove and peel while warm, breaking the potatoes into even pieces. Set aside.
  5. 5. Carefully remove the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts and reserve. Cut the hearts in half. Spray lightly with olive oil and grill on a grill cooling rack set 15 cm (6 in) above the embers (or roast in the wood-fired oven at 200°C/390°F for 10 minutes) until golden. Season lightly, scatter the reserved sprout leaves on top and cook for a further 4 minutes until crisp.
  6. 6. In a medium saucepan, warm the potatoes and ham in the stock. Divide between serving bowls and cover with the roasted brussels sprouts and leaves.
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