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Ham Hock, Roast Cauliflower, Potatoes, Cheese and Parsley Sauce

Category

An inexpensive ham hock is a source of concentrated flavour that, given the luxury of time, will provide you with two delicious meals. The meat, in this case, is shredded and added to a rich cheese and parsley sauce. Draped across a bowl of crisp potatoes and roasted cauliflower, with plenty of green rocket keeping it fresh and clean, this is cauliflower cheese with a very modern twist.

10 Minutes
Yields2 Servings
Prep Time30 minsCook Time1 hr 30 minsTotal Time2 hrs
 1 Smoked Ham Hock
 1 Carrot - Chopped into Quarters
 1 Onion - Chopped into Quarters
 1 Bay Leaf
 500 g Baby Potatoes
 1 Cauliflower - Broken into Large Florets
 50 g Rocket
 Flaked Sea Salt
 1 tbsp Oil, plus Oil for Frying
FOR THE SAUCE
 2 tbsp Plain Flour
 50 g Butter
 ½ l Milk
 100 g Strong Cheddar - Grated
1

Put the ham hock, with the carrot, onion and herbs, into a large saucepan and cover with cold water. If you want to make pea soup, then add 250g whole marrowfat peas (dried) and chop the onion and carrot into small dice.

2

Bring to the boil, skim off any scum that forms on the surface, and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the ham is falling from the bone.

3

Boil the baby potatoes until tender, drain, refresh with cold water, and set aside. If you do not cool them properly with cold water at this stage, they could become waterlogged and turn grey. Which is not particularly pleasant.

4

Now get on with making the sauce. Why are we not using the ham stock? Because it is smoky and will be too overbearing. You can use a wire whisk if you want, but if you are new to this then you really should be doing it with a wooden spoon; that way you will gain the proper technique.

5

The key to sauce is slow and steady. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan (a cheap thin pan will scorch on the bottom) and add the flour. Still over the heat, stir in the flour so that you have a paste. Stir for a minute or so until the colour changes to a biscuity brown and the texture becomes more chalky. We are adding cold milk, so you will be shifting the pan on and off the heat.

6

Off heat, add a small ladle of milk. Return to the heat and stir gently until the milk bubbles. Remove from the heat and stir until all of the milk is incorporated. It will stiffen up slightly and expand a little. Do it again, gradually adding more milk until it stops expanding and becomes what looks more like sauce. Never add more milk until the first lot is fully blended and there are no lumps. Stop when you have used all of the milk, or the sauce is the consistency of thick custard. If you need more milk; use it. All flours have different absorbency levels so it is never an exact science.

7

Stir in all of the grated cheese until melted and combined. Cheese is salty so you shouldn't need any extra seasoning.

8

The sauce can now be set aside until you are ready to plate up. Take a piece of clingfilm and press it onto the surface of the sauce. This will stop it from forming a skin. Set aside.

9

Half an hour before you are ready to serve, you need to do two things. Slice the potatoes fairly thickly and roast the cauliflower. It will take about 30 minutes at 180C/Gas 4, in a baking dish with a sprinkle of salt and the tbsp of oil. Roast until golden brown and just tender.

10

When the ham is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside to cool slightly. Shred the meat from the bone, using two forks.

11

Once the cauliflower is almost ready, shallow fry the potato slices until golden brown.

12

Remove the clingfilm from the sauce and stir through the ham and parsley. Reheat if necessary.

13

Dress your bowls or plates with rocket, cauliflower, and potato slices. Drape over as much sauce as you like. Eat whilst hot.

Ingredients

 1 Smoked Ham Hock
 1 Carrot - Chopped into Quarters
 1 Onion - Chopped into Quarters
 1 Bay Leaf
 500 g Baby Potatoes
 1 Cauliflower - Broken into Large Florets
 50 g Rocket
 Flaked Sea Salt
 1 tbsp Oil, plus Oil for Frying
FOR THE SAUCE
 2 tbsp Plain Flour
 50 g Butter
 ½ l Milk
 100 g Strong Cheddar - Grated

Directions

1

Put the ham hock, with the carrot, onion and herbs, into a large saucepan and cover with cold water. If you want to make pea soup, then add 250g whole marrowfat peas (dried) and chop the onion and carrot into small dice.

2

Bring to the boil, skim off any scum that forms on the surface, and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the ham is falling from the bone.

3

Boil the baby potatoes until tender, drain, refresh with cold water, and set aside. If you do not cool them properly with cold water at this stage, they could become waterlogged and turn grey. Which is not particularly pleasant.

4

Now get on with making the sauce. Why are we not using the ham stock? Because it is smoky and will be too overbearing. You can use a wire whisk if you want, but if you are new to this then you really should be doing it with a wooden spoon; that way you will gain the proper technique.

5

The key to sauce is slow and steady. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan (a cheap thin pan will scorch on the bottom) and add the flour. Still over the heat, stir in the flour so that you have a paste. Stir for a minute or so until the colour changes to a biscuity brown and the texture becomes more chalky. We are adding cold milk, so you will be shifting the pan on and off the heat.

6

Off heat, add a small ladle of milk. Return to the heat and stir gently until the milk bubbles. Remove from the heat and stir until all of the milk is incorporated. It will stiffen up slightly and expand a little. Do it again, gradually adding more milk until it stops expanding and becomes what looks more like sauce. Never add more milk until the first lot is fully blended and there are no lumps. Stop when you have used all of the milk, or the sauce is the consistency of thick custard. If you need more milk; use it. All flours have different absorbency levels so it is never an exact science.

7

Stir in all of the grated cheese until melted and combined. Cheese is salty so you shouldn't need any extra seasoning.

8

The sauce can now be set aside until you are ready to plate up. Take a piece of clingfilm and press it onto the surface of the sauce. This will stop it from forming a skin. Set aside.

9

Half an hour before you are ready to serve, you need to do two things. Slice the potatoes fairly thickly and roast the cauliflower. It will take about 30 minutes at 180C/Gas 4, in a baking dish with a sprinkle of salt and the tbsp of oil. Roast until golden brown and just tender.

10

When the ham is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside to cool slightly. Shred the meat from the bone, using two forks.

11

Once the cauliflower is almost ready, shallow fry the potato slices until golden brown.

12

Remove the clingfilm from the sauce and stir through the ham and parsley. Reheat if necessary.

13

Dress your bowls or plates with rocket, cauliflower, and potato slices. Drape over as much sauce as you like. Eat whilst hot.

Ham Hock, Roast Cauliflower, Potatoes, Cheese and Parsley Sauce