Three Ways With… Pork Hocks

Pork hocks are incredibly good value and surprisingly versatile! Try them in one of these tasty recipes this week.

Chinese Five Spice Pulled Pork
2 pork hocks
2 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp salt
500mls chicken or vegetable stock
100mls dark soy sauce
60g brown sugar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and lightly smashed
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely sliced
Serves 4-6

1) Remove the outer skin of the hocks, taking care to leave a thin layer of fat. Place the hocks in a large bowl and rub the Chinese five spice and salt into the meat.
2) Add the stock, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, chilli flakes, onions, garlic and ginger to a slow cooker and mix everything together.
3) Add the pork to the slow cooker and stir to coat it in the sauce.
4) Cook on low for around 8 hours, or until the meat is cooked through and tender.
5) Remove the meat from the slow cooker and keep warm whilst you strain off the cooking liquid into a bowl.
6) Discard the cooked onions, garlic and ginger and skim off the fat that rises to the surface. Using a couple of forks shred the meat into a serving dish. Pour over the strained cooking liquid and mix into the meat.
Recipe adapted from the Food Network.

Roast Pork Hock
Unlike ham hocks, pork hocks aren’t salted or cured which means they’re great for an economical roast.
1 pork hock
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 carrots, sliced
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
500 mls dry cider, or chicken stock
A knob of butter or 1tsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp plain white flour
Serves 3-4

1) Preheat your oven to 160C. Lay the onion, garlic and carrot slices along with the fresh thyme on the bottom of a roasting dish.
2) Place the hock on top of the vegetable layer and pour over the cider or stock.
3) Cover and roast in the oven for around two to two and a half hours, basting the meat occasionally with the cider.
4) Once cooked, the meat will fall off the bone when gently prised. At this stage, remove the hock and leave it to rest in a warm place.
5) Remove the vegetables from the roasting dish. Then, using a sieve, strain the cooking liquid into a bowl and remove as much fat as you can with a spoon. Alternatively, you could use a fat separator jug.
6) Place the roasting dish over a low heat and add a little rapeseed oil or butter. Once hot, stir in the flour to form a paste and slowly mix in the strained cooking liquid. Simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until you have a glossy gravy. Serve the hock with the gravy and lots of seasonal vegetables.

Pulled Pork Hock
1 pork hock
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
150 mls chicken stock
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
Serves 3-4

1) Using a large bowl mix together the brown sugar, chilli powder, salt and smoked paprika and rub into the flesh and skin of the hock. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 6 hours, or overnight.
2) Line the bottom of your slow cooker with the sliced onion and garlic and pour over the stock. You could try adding a little apple at this stage if you like a little sweetness. Place the hock, along with any spices in the bottom of the bowl, on top of the onion layer.
3) Cook for 6-8 hours on low or for 4-6 hours on high. Alternatively, you could cook the hock in a covered casserole dish in the oven for 2-3 hours at 140C.
4) Once the meat is cooked through and falling off the bone, turn the slow cooker, or oven, off and transfer the hock to a large chopping board. Using a sharp knife, remove any large chunks of skin and fat. The bone should gently lift away from the meat and can now be discarded along with the skin and fat.
5) Using a sieve, strain the cooking liquid from the slow cooker or casserole into a bowl and return the cooked onions back to the cooking pot along with the pork hock meat.
6) Using two forks, shred the meat and onions into bite-sized pieces. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid, 50 mls at a time, and stir in until the meat is moist, but not soggy. Alternatively you could add your favourite barbecue sauce.
7) Serve with brioche buns, coleslaw and fresh green salad.

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