Yes I know, we just had ham hock. Problem is, I tend to get a little obsessed with ingredients. This past week or so I have worked my way through three (yes, three) of the fat, porky loins. I went into the butcher with the intention of purchasing four rashers of bacon for my lunch, but I came out with an extra two ham hocks, two trotters and a wedge of black pudding. I think I need to find some sort of piggy addicts rehab.
I googled trotters meets hock and found this recipe, which I made the same day, even though it did leave me standing over a hot pot of pig at 1am on a Friday morning. I cooled it, packed it, weighed it down and fridged it, ready for some weekend feasting.
On Sunday morning, the piggy theme continued as I was roused by the sound of sizzling and the smell of caramelised fat wafting into the bedroom. Being the cynic that I am however, alarm bells started ringing – why is he making surprise breakfast? I don’t remember any nagging – have I been nagging in my sleep? And then he appears, standing sheepishly at the end of the bed, and my sleepy ears prick up at news of an imminent ‘confession’. “I’m really reeeally sorry.” What? “I’m so sorry.” What? “Its the terrine.” WHAT? “Last night, after you went to bed. We were drunk..I…we…didn’t mean to…I didn’t know what I was doing.”
I give him the most annoyed glare I can muster at 8am on a Sunday and finally extract the full story – it turns out those cheeky boys only ate a little slice off the end after all, bless ‘em. I never knew I was so scary. I decide to milk the guilt for a further five minutes to secure a bedside brew, then I let it go and all is forgiven. Although not before I’ve bartered for an extra sausage.
Later on that day, the offical terrine tasting commences. The meat, trotters and some belly have been cooked in a broth flavoured with aromatics (e.g. onion, carrot, celery, bay), then removed to cool, the meat picked, packed and the broth strained and poured over. The trotters provide a natural source of gelatine as the recipe explains, so you just weigh it down in the fridge and it sets.
At first I was a little unnerved by the appearance of the finished terrine. In its full-length form, you would be forgiven for speculating whether it is fit for human consumption. I can allay your fears on this point however, it is more than acceptable, it is delicious and it just gets better with age. Big chunks of meat suspended in ultra-savoury jelly, just begging for a bit of crispy toast and a pickle or two. I wanted picallili but didn’t have time to make any so we settled for a crude arrangement of pickled onions, cornichons, slaw and salad.
And, from one obsession to another. Having finally purged myself of the hock fixation, I am now hankering after a pâté. That’s after I’ve gone veggie for a week. Starting on Monday perhaps. I’ve already pre-ordered pork belly for a meal this evening and I make no apologies whatsoever.