This is a wonderfully comforting dish to cook and eat. If you are lucky enough to have a slow cooker you can put the ham hock in that for 5 hours or more till it’s really tender. Alternatively, the dish works fine in a low oven. Ham hock is really very cheap – £3.00 to £5.00 for a largish hock that will serve 3-4 people. And, made this way it’s very tender and flavoured
1 smoked ham hock, soaked overnight in water
3-4 floury potatoes
1 small head of celeriac
Half a teaspoon of caraway seeds
Small amount of oil
Put the ham hock into a large pot on top of the stove, fill with cold water, bring to the boil then throw away the water
Now, put the ham into a slow cooker or ovenproof casserole dish with one of the onions sliced into rounds. Top up with water and bring up to 140c before cooking for 4 to 5 hours on low or 120-140c
Remove the ham and onion pieces from the stock and allow to cool until you can handle the meat!
Take all the meat off the bone, shredding into biggish pieces. Discard the bone, fat and skin
Skim as much fat as possible from the stock and check for ‘saltiness’. It should be flavoured but not excessively salty. If necessary add more water.
Peel and slice the potatoes into ¼ cm thick rounds
Peel and slice the celeriac and cut into ¼ cm thick pieces.
Take an oven proof casserole or the pot of your slow cooker if it can go into the oven. Put a layer of potato, a layer of celeriac, a layer of cooked and uncooked onion and then a layer of ham, seasoning with pepper and a little caraway between each layer. Continue, finishing with a layer of potato slices.
Top up the casserole/crock pot with the reserved ham stock until about two thirds full. Put on a lid and cook the oven at 180c for 20 minutes or if you are using an ovenproof slow cooker, you can do this with the slow cooker by cooking for an hour on high.
Then take the lid off and finish in the oven for another 20-30 minutes till the top layer of potatoes are crispy and the mixture is cooked through
Serve with cavola nero cabbage.