Smoked Ham Hock Pie.

This is a belated Valentine’s day post, although personally, I think it’s a load of rubbish – my partner and I don’t need a ‘special day’ born out of rampant commercialism to express our love for each other. Still, gives one a good starting point on the food front doesn’t it? We invited two friends over for dinner and I thought about how to create a little bit of luuurve, on a plate.

It’s winter, it’s cold and so I crave the pie – all the time. Deep filled, meaty pie with unctuous oozy sauce and buttery pastry. Pure comfort food. First I toyed with the idea of using lamb shanks in a pie, all St. John style with the bones sticking out the top. When I googled to see if anyone else had done a lamb shank pie though – Jamie O had already been there, which put me off for some reason. So, I finally decided on ham, big chunks of smoked ham – lots of pink bits for your valentine.

I managed to completely stuff up the pastry top, by slinging it onto the filling with way too much enthusiasm (after drinking way too much wine). Still, it’s a pie so…I just patched it up a bit and stuck some pastry hearts on top for ‘decoration’, thinking no-one would notice once I dished it up anyway.

And they didn’t (or they didn’t say). It was a big thumbs up all round, although I know it was a bit salty. This is probably down to the fact I didn’t let the ham hock soak long enough. Saltyness aside though, it really hit the spot, especially with a dollop of minty peas.

I got even more out of the cheap as chips (£2.15) ham hock, by reserving a little meat and the cooking liquor for this classic soup recipe the following night –  – now there’s a valentine’s gift that keeps on giving.

Smoked Ham Hock Pie
(I would advise soaking the hock for at least a few hours or overnight before discarding the water and cooking as below)

1 smoked ham hock
1 carrot
10 peppercorns
1 stick celery
1 large onion, peeled and halved plus 1 small one finely chopped, for the filling
4 bay leaves, torn
1 large leek, finely shredded
1 clove garlic
1 standard pack shortcrust pastry (sorry, don’t know the weight but it’s enough to cover the top of your pie dish..)
1 egg, beaten


425ml milk
8 black pepper corns
1 bay leaf
40g butter
20g plain flour
Salt and pepper
A pinch of mace or nutmeg
A large handful cheddar cheese

– Put the hock, halved onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 2-4 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.
– Remove the ham and set aside, strain the liquor and reserve for later use.
– Cook the leeks and onion gently in butter until soft – about 10 minutes, then add the garlic for a further 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the bechamel.
– Put the milk, bay leaf, mace or nutmeg and peppercorns into a pan and bring slowly up to simmering point.
– Remove from the heat and strain the milk into a jug.
– In a clean pan, melt the butter gently, add the flour and stir to a paste. Add a little milk at a time, stirring to make sure all is incorporated.
– Start adding larger quantities, as if you are making mayonnaise, stirring with a whisk.
– When the lumps are gone, add the cheese and whisk again until smooth.
– Remove the meat from the hock, taking care to avoid the fattiest bits and combine with the leek mixture and the bechamel. Transfer to a pie dish. Roll out the pastry to desired thickness (I dunno, 1cm?) and top the pie with it. Brush with beaten egg.
– Bake at 190°C/ 375°F/Gas 5 for about an hour until golden brown.

Category: Meat, Pies 22 comments »

22 Responses to “Smoked Ham Hock Pie.”

  1. Jonathan

    I love hock.

    Jonathans last blog post..Miso Skate Risotto

  2. Fiona Beckett

    Great idea! Love ham hocks. Love pies. Both impeccably frugal. Result!

    Fiona Becketts last blog post..Back to frugality!

  3. Peter G

    I adore all pies…this looks so hearty and comforting! And bring on the minty peas!

    Peter Gs last blog post..What’s in a word? And some new toys.

  4. Fiona Beckett

    Actually have just spotted the Government is seeking to outlaw pies – Make ‘em while you can!

    Fiona Becketts last blog post..Back to frugality!

  5. Helen

    A ‘pastry limit’ – heavens no! Save us, save us! Everyone must go and make pie at once. Pie is pie is pie. Just eat more salad on your non-pie day and all will be well. You reading this Gordon?

  6. anne

    That looks really good, I love pies and really love the idea of smoked ham in it.

    Saw your article on food show, I went last year and already bought tickets for this years, really good event I thought and great range of produce :)

  7. NickyB

    OMG, I could have licked the screen …

  8. nina

    Damn, I cooked a hog the other day and gave it away because I could not figure out what to make with it!!!

    ninas last blog post..Ciabatta with Rocket, Black Mission Figs, Prosciutto and Goat’s Cheese

  9. Alex

    Nothing beats a rustic pie! And perfectly prissy pastry would have been a bit incongruous with that slab of hock, no?

    I need to find a pie to dive into asap…

    Alexs last blog post..Leek and potato soup

  10. Dan

    oooh – Ive been eyeing various ham hock recipes lately, didn’t realise it was that cheap! £2-15! and that great looking pie and soup as well?
    I’m sold.

    Dans last blog post..Milly’s Deli – Leigh-on-Sea

  11. David Hall

    Helen, you are a fine woman when you are giving your fella something like this out of love. Fantastic! The best pie of the year so far. Brilliant. Cheers Dave x

    David Halls last blog post..Wet Wet Wet

  12. Ros

    Pie will always do it for me. Last one we had was rabbit pie the day after valentines. I haven’t had much success with hock though. I get really sensitive to salt sometimes. Next time I experimant with it, I’ll try soaking for longer.

    Ross last blog post..On Curry

  13. Wendy

    Yum, yum. Very cute crust too.
    We aren’t Valentine’s folk either. I did buy David a present this year. But it was an axe. Not sure that’s terribly romantic.

    Wendys last blog post..Countdown

  14. Lizzie

    Mmmmm pie. That looks so good. I must try liking shortcrust pastry as I’m clearly missing out.

    Lizzies last blog post..Rabbit in a Cream & Mustard Sauce

  15. Niamh

    Lovely, Helen! I adore ham hock, a great cut of meat. Sounds like a lovely interpretation of Valentine’s Day :-)

    Niamhs last blog post..Guilty! Guilty Pleasures Dinner Party

  16. Merlotti

    mmm – its look really tasty! I used ham hock to make a terrine at Christmas and was also surprised just how cheap it was, and so delicious too. I’d suggest Lizzie cheats and puts a piece of – dare I say it – ready bought puff pastry on top if she’s not fond of shortcrust!

    Merlottis last blog post..My Guilty Pleasure

  17. The Graphic Foodie

    ok my tummy is rumbling now….

    The Graphic Foodies last blog post..Chocolate pencils

  18. Jamie

    This looks fantastic!

    Jamies last blog post..SOUP KITCHEN

  19. we are never full

    HA!! i love it -jamie o doing it turned you off. it would turn me off to cause he can be kind of annoying. it’s weird you brought that up b/c my sister in law bought us 1 jamie cookbook for xmas a few years back and it’s the only one we own. the only thing that drew me into that book, no lie, is his lamb shank pie w/ the shanks sticking straight out of that pastry. for that one i would let it slide… cause it really looked amazing.

    but yours looks great too! god i need a pie in my life soon. real soon… it’s been too long.

  20. Nate

    This is the first time I’ve heard of minty peas. Trying to imagine the flavor profile and wondering whether I’d like it or not. I sure would like to have some of that pie!

    Nates last blog post..Our Favorite Layer Cake Recipe

  21. Bron

    Oh oh oh that looks amazing. Hock on my list for the week methinks.

    Brons last blog post..Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry

  22. Kevin

    This pie sounds so good!

    Kevins last blog post..Maple and Mustard Glazed Chicken

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