Ham hock with pea purée and wholemeal bread

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A classy yet rustic starter from Nathan Outlaw, this ham hock recipe embodies much of what’s great about British country cooking and perfectly suits the vogue for upmarket renditions of traditional pub fare. To accompany, home-pickled shallots are made summery and bright with pea shoots, watercress, mint leaves and fresh peas. Although Nathan's best known for his fish, he's also an accomplished baker and you'll love the wholemeal bread this dish is served with.

First published in 2015




Ham hock

Wholemeal bread

Ham jelly

  • 1 tsp agar agar flakes

Pickled shallot salad

To serve


  • 4 ramekins
  • 4 loaf tins


To cook the ham hock, place it in a large pot with the vinegar, sea salt, peppercorns and bay leaves
Peel and quarter the onion and peel the carrots and add them to the pot, then cover with water
Bring to a simmer and cook, skimming as necessary, for 3 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bone
To start the wholemeal bread, combine the flours, butter, yeast, oat bran, sugar and treacle in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook
Add 285ml of water then mix on the lowest setting until a dough is formed. Continue mixing for 5-6 minutes, then add the salt and mix for a further minute
Place the dough in a floured bowl, cover with a clean damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, dry and draught-free place for 2 hours, or until the dough has risen and doubled in size
Remove the ham hock from the pot and set aside the cooking liquor. When the ham is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones and place it in a large bowl
Add the parsley, then finely chop the shallots and stir them into the ham too. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside
Lightly oil four mini loaf tins. Tip the bread dough onto a floured surface and knock it back by kneading firmly. Divide the dough into four pieces and shape into loaves to fit the tins
  • oil
Cover with a clean damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, dry and draught-free place, or until the dough has risen and doubled in size
To make the ham jelly, combine 400ml of the ham’s cooking liquor and the agar agar flakes in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Set aside
  • 1 tsp agar agar flakes
To make the pea purée, pod the peas and cook them in boiling, salted water for 5-6 minutes, adding the mint for the last minute of cooking
Drain and discard the mint. Put the peas in a food processor, purée then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pass the purée through a sieve into a bowl and set aside
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7 and bake the loaves for 20-25 minutes, or until the bases sound hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool
Take four ramekins and spoon some pea purée into each. Top with the ham mixture. Pour the jelly mixture into the ramekins until they are almost full and chill for 1 hour
To make the pickled shallot salad, finely slice the shallots into rounds
Combine them in a saucepan with the vinegar, red wine, sugar, 50ml of water and a pinch of sea salt and heat until boiling. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely
Meanwhile, cook the whole peas in a pan of boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain again and pod the peas
Drain the shallot mixture, then toss the shallots with the peas and remaining salad ingredients in a bowl until well mixed
An hour before serving, remove the ramekins from the fridge and place each one on a small board or serving plate
Cut each mini loaf into five slices and place near the ramekins along with some unsalted butter
Spoon the pickled shallot salad onto the plates and serve
First published in 2015

Nathan Outlaw cooks with understated brilliance and passionate respect for primary ingredients.

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