I hope that you are all doing well and enjoying our early winter weather!
I had a little time today for a cooking project, so I made a trotter and ham hock terrine following a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage cookbook fame. If any of you are fans of nose-to-tail cooking and terrines, here are a couple of excellent recent posts by Moikel and noshrimp that you should really check out:
Moikel's ham hock terrine - http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/162557/ham-hock-terrine
noshrimp's oxtail terrine - http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/155551/oxtail-terrine-w-q-view
This project actually started a few weeks ago because one of the ingredients is cured unsmoked ham hock. So that required curing some hocks (these are actually skin-on cross-cut shanks, but it is the same idea).
After 2 weeks in Pop's standard strength brine…Voila! A 2 lb unsmoked cured ham hock ready to go!
This recipe also called for 2 split pig trotters, and a 1/2 lb section of fatty pork belly.
Pack it all in tightly into a stock pot.
Add some aromatics: 2 small halved onions, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalk, 2 cloves peeled garlic, thyme, parsley stems, and bay leaves. Add a large glass of white wine and cover with cold water. Use just enough water to cover everything, but no more than that because you want the stock to have a high concentration of gelatin. Don't add salt because the cured hock is already plenty salty!
Bring to a boil, skim the foam, lower to a simmer, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the hock, and let everything else keep simmering.
Let the hock cool slightly, and chop the meat into small cubes (about 1 cm in size or 1/3")
After another 1 1/2 hours of simmering, remove the trotters and belly section.
Use everything but the bone on the trotters: skin, tendons, meat, other weird pieces of connective tissue, whatever is soft enough to chew and swallow. Chop all this up into small cubes.
Also remove the meat from the belly section and chop this up. Put all the chopped meat, skin, whatever, in a large bowl.
Now pour some of the stock through a paper towel-lined sieve (or cheesecloth lined, but don't use a kitchen towel unless you don't mind throwing it away) into a clean saucepan. You won't need all the stock, I used about 6 or 8 cups worth. Bring this to a boil and reduce it by at least half. This will make the jelly that binds your terrine together. To check if the stock has reduced enough, pour a little into a saucer and place this in your freezer for a few minutes to see if it gels.
When the stock has reduced enough, add a spoonful or two of red currant or crab apple jelly to the stock and check the seasoning (salt and pepper). If you reduced your stock enough, the jelly is probably optional. You'll want the stock to be pretty well seasoned, because the terrine will be eaten cold so the flavor is muted. Stir enough stock into your bowl of chopped animal parts to have it pretty wet but not drowning in stock. Spoon this into a terrine mold or a loaf pan, or whatever you want.
Cover the terrine with saran wrap and weigh it down with something. I nested another loaf pan inside, and weighted it with cans. If you used too much stock, it will become obvious at this point. This looks about right.
Let this chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight. Then slice with a sharp knife and serve!
Here is a close-up cross sectional view. You can see the cured hock, pork belly, skin, and other assorted bits all held together with the gelatin from the reduced stock.
A couple of plated shots with some bitter greens and cherry mostarda that I made this summer using a recipe from "The Preservation Kitchen". The cherry mostarda really complimented the terrine nicely.
Thanks for checking out my post! Hope everyone has a great Sunday, and stay warm!