I love cooking – to me there is nothing more pleasurable than planning, shopping for and spending the afternoon in the kitchen cooking my favorite recipes or testing new ones. When I was at Dublin Cookery School, I spent every day for 3 months cooking a three course meal, bread making or other intensive cooking techniques. That was heaven for me – spending every day doing something you love. One of the highlights, was a weekend stint at Paul Flynn’s Tannery cooking school. He is wonderful to learn from, has had an amazing career and is a bit of craic as well. Our first day was all things pork and this is one of his recipes which I make time and again. I love carefully reared pig and use it a lot in different recipes, even a simple Charcuterie plate is a great option. For this one you have to boil the hocks – yes, it takes a while, but they are so reasonably priced and the end result is so delicious that for me, its totally worth it!. A cheap delicious satisfying healthy lunch or easy starter when you have a gang over.
Serves about 10
2 Ham hocks– boiled until falling apart and kept in bacon water. This can be done a day or two before.
1 2lb loaf tin lined with cling film that overlaps the edges (you can line with prosciutto also if you wish)
1 large onion finely diced
1 handful fresh sage, finely chopped
1 handful of prunes soaked in tea or Armagnac if you are feeling flush
3 oz butter
Lots of black pepper for seasoning
Boil the ham until falling off the bone. Then allow to come to room temperature. Then chop into 2 cm pieces along with most of the fat. This is essential to make it stick together so don’t skimp.
Sweat the onions in the butter very gently until they are a golden colour and very soft.
Add the sage and the chopped prunes and all the ham.
Mix everything together really well, season and pile into the terrine or loaf tin as tightly as you can.
Bring the clingfilm back from the sides and overlap on the top, piercing four or five holes in it.
Place the terrine in the fridge for two hours to set a little.
Place a heavy weight on top of the tins – A few bags of sugar will do the trick if you don’t have the made to measure piece of wood Paul had for this purpose.
Refrigerate overnight and turn out, slice and serve with toast and chutneys. This will keep for about 3 days in the fridge.
I made lots of them last Christmas and they were very popular as a snack for callers.