Food

Savoury ham hock cakes

The past two weeks have been an absolute blur. My chief food taster and I returned from our honey moon/Nova Scotia wedding reception, which was a whirlwind. Two weeks, of sunshine, wineries and some of the freshest food. I happily indulged in proper chowder, digby scallops and as many farmers markets as I could find.

Ah, sometimes I forget just how sublime food fresh from the field or sea is.

Back in the Bedford I wanted to try to hold onto some of that Maritime flavour, so went to make some fish cakes. Those tasty patties; crispy outside with a soft savoury interior, paired with sweet and tangy green tomato chow chow. However, I was vetoed by the Chief Taster as he was a little fished out.

So, walking through the supermarket I saw some shredded ham hock. I had never had ham hocks before coming to the UK, but they are really delicious and this got me thinking. For those unfamiliar, ham hocks are essentially just above the lower hind leg of pigs. They are succulent when slowly roasted/braised, and the flavour is probably one of the best you can get from pork.

The key to any potato cake is to the mix of ingredients minimally, so to ensure the centre is creamy but still has definable potatoes and other bits. I took two baked potatoes, and boiled them until they were ready to be mashed. I rough mashed these with a bit a butter and set aside to cool. I added an egg to some Dijon and whisked it together. Once the potato has cooled I added the ham hock and the egg/mustard mix to the potato.

It is also important to have some flavour. I looked to my garden and grabbed some parsley and tarragon, and quickly chopped this finely and added as well.

Mixing these into some patties, about an inch thick, I chill them for 30min in the fridge. When ready to cook I heat my cast iron pan with some veggie oil, and also turned on the oven to 160c. I take the patties and brush with another beaten egg and dust with bread crumbs. When the oil is hot I place the patties in, and wait until they are crisp on both sides (a good golden brown). I finish them off in the oven and serve’em hot.

Savoury and flavourful, with morsels of ham hock working well with the potato an herbs. Went well with a bit of tarragon mayo.

The chief food taster approved.

Savoury Ham Hock cakes

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 cakes

Savoury Ham Hock cakes

Savoury ham hocks, perfect for those non fish lovers or for a new twist. Great with salad and a herbed mayo. Perfect end of summer dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 large baked potatoes (about 600g)
  • 150g of shredded ham hock
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2TB Dijon mustard
  • 2tsp chopped parsley
  • 2tsp chopped tarragon
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2cup vegetable oil
  • 20g of salted butter

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes, skin and all, in hot salted water. When cooked, peel and roughly mash with the butter so that there are still pieces of chunky potato. Set aside to cool.
  2. Crack one egg and mix with two tablespoons of dijon. Add this, with the ham hock and hopped herbs to the potato mixture. Mix lightly and divide mixture and form into patties. Chill in the fridge for 30min to have'em nice and firm.
  3. When ready to cook, turn on the oven to 160c. Place the vegetable oil in a frying pan, and heat until ready to shallow fry the patties. Beat the last egg and brush over the patties, and then dust over with the bread crumbs and place in the frying pan. Cook until a solid golden brown and then flip to cook the other side. When done place in the oven for 15min to finish cooking the interior.
  4. Serve with sauce of choice.
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