what to do with big beautiful UGLY ham hock...?
break it down, tear it apart, smash it in to a loaf tin...
call it charcuterie !...
sorry, "writers block"...
ha...how apropos. a block for a block.
maybe that's why i have 23 drafts with photos and recipes waiting for some fabulous intelligent description...hmmm...intelligent just ain't gonna happen.
SO...this is a "WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET" kind of post.
hence, this is more of an idea rather than a recipe.
while shopping at one of my favorite Asian markets, H Mart, i came across a beautiful fresh already cooked ham hock...displayed much like a supermarket might display it's fresh roasted chickens. it was still warm and pliable so i snatched the best looking one up and brought it home. with a fridge over flowing with food ready to eat i thought what am i gonna do with this big hunk o' hock ?!
i know...i'll make a terrine.
HOW EASY IS THAT !?
of course you can cook your own ham hock and do the same thing, but that takes hours....and ingredients.
ham hocks, much like trotters (aka pig feet) have a lot of good sticky collagen. this is what makes for good glue in a terrine. no gelatin needed.
all of the following should be done with a warm pliable cooked hock...cool enough to touch and work with.
remove the skin in one piece, if possible. this makes a nice outer layer and helps hold everything together. tear apart the meat and tendons. remove any bones and cartilage. chunks can be large, but better long and thin instead of fat chunks. add a little hot water (broth if you have some) maybe start with 1/2 cup to get some of the juices flowing. SEASONING IS KEY...taste your filling. maybe add some chopped scallions, chinese five spice, garlic or onion powder, cumin?...salt and pepper! terrines are something that need extra flavor.
find a vessel that will work well. i use a small loaf pan. spray the inside lightly then line with plastic wrap. leave over hang on all sides. cut the skin in strips and layer the bottom. then start packing the goods in...evenly dispersing the meat, fat, tendons and odd bits and pieces. everything must go in so that it will hold together, but you can discard any unwanted dark ugly veins.
pour what juices you have left over the top and let it sink in.cover with hang over plastic wrap and press down hard with something flat that fits the top of the meat. you don't want any air pockets. place in fridge with a weights on top. your terrine should be ready in a few hours.
voila...you have made a terrine.
pretty enough for any charcuterie platter.
serve chilled, sliced thin.