I have made friends with my local butcher as the selection of meat in the supermarket can be so disappointing in terms of variety and quality of cuts on offer. Plus if you want to cook with less expensive meat apart from mince, then its time to get acquainted so that you can source your lamb shanks, ham hocks, beef cheeks and other great cuts not available in the multiples.
This is a recipe which uses Ham Hocks, one of my favourite cut of pig, I usually buy 2 and after soaking overnight and cooking then, I make terrines, and risottos with any left over meat. The terrines are amazing too as they keep well in the fridge and are great with a fennel relish and some sourdough toasts. I’m digressing though, that’s for another day.
I return to risotto quite often, I like the process of making it and find it a very comforting meal, one of the simple things in life – unfashionable for so long to say you liked standing over a pot and stirring but I admit I do, I find it relaxing and a good way to put down the day before I join the family at the dinner table and give thanks for our food and time together.
This recipes serves about 6 people
To cook the ham
1 Ham Hock soaked overnight
1 onion peeled
a few peppercorns
a bay leaf and some thyme
Wash the ham a few times and place in a saucepan with the other ingredients.
Cover with cold water, throw n the onion, peppercorns and the herbs. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 3 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.Leave to cool, strain and reserve the stock for the risotto or if just cooking the hocks, for pea or other soup another day. Chop the meat off the bone into nice shreds. Look for the few sinewy pieces and discard.
For the Risotto
2oz unsalted butter
1 onion finely chopped
The ham hock meat
200gr Risotto Rice
A half a glass of cider or white wine if you don’t have it
1.5 ltrs of stock from cooking the ham – heat it up when making the risotto
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
Melt 1oz of butter in the pan
Add the chopped onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes
Turn up the heat and tip in the risotto rice and stir for a minute or 2 on quite a high heat
Tip in the cider or wine and hear the sizzle and stir for a minute and turn down to medium.
Turn on your timer to 17 minutes (or watch the clock) and start adding the stock a ladle at a time, stirring
the rice while it absorbs the liquid.
Continue cooking and stirring, adding the stock and at 17 minutes, taste and the rice should feel nearly done.
Tip in the chopped ham meat and cook for about 2 minutes more until the meat is heated through
Stir in rest of the butter and the Parmesan, taste and season then put the lid on the pot and leave for a minute.
Serve in bowls with a scattering of Parmesan and topping of parsley.. Delicious and a very purse friendly meal for a family.