Raymond Blanc is one of Britain’s most respected and popular TV chefs and the UK’s favourite French man. We asked him to share a typically French dish we can all make at home. He recommends this fabulous ham hock terrine with soused vegetables recipe. Make it a few days in advance and serve with bread, crackers, salad, whatever – it’s guaranteed to impress…
Preparation time: 12hrs – Cooking time: 30mins
You will need for the terrine:
1 large ham hock, about 1.5kg
1 pig’s trotter cut in half lengthways (optional)
2 litres cold water
1 bouquet garni (2 bay leaves, 5g parsley, 2g thyme, tied together)
8 black peppercorns
1 large carrot, quartered lengthways
2 celery sticks, halved
1 medium white onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
11Ž2 sheets leaf gelatine
40ml white wine vinegar
35g flat-leaf parsley
For the soused vegetables:
80ml white wine vinegar
90g clear honey
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
6 pinches of sea salt
2 pinches of freshly ground
160g baby onions, peeled, root left on
100g carrot, peeled and cut into 3cm long sticks
70g cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tarragon sprig
60g small gherkins, rinsed
10g dill sprigs, chopped
1. Put the ham hock and pig’s trotter into a large stockpot or saucepan, cover with the cold water and bring to the boil, skimming to remove the impurities. Let bubble gently for one minute.
2. Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, add the bouquet garni and peppercorns and put the lid on, leaving a slight gap. Cook for three to four hours, adding all the vegetables forty-five minutes before the end of the cooking time. The cooking time will depend on the size of the hock; the meat should be tender enough to pull the small bone out easily.
3. Once cooked, lift out the meat onto a board and leave until cool enough to handle. Strain the liquor through a sieve set over a large pan, reserving the vegetables. Soak the gelatine leaves in a shallow dish of cold water to soften for five minutes or so. Bring the strained liquor to a simmer and take off the heat. Drain the gelatine and stir into the hot liquor with the wine vinegar. Reserve 400ml for the terrine (any excess can be used as a broth with noodles).
4. Peel off the rind and fat from the ham hocks. Cut off and discard the fat from the rind; cut the rind into one centimetre pieces. Flake the meat from the hock into a bowl, reserving three large pieces. Add the rind to the flaked meat. No additional seasoning should be needed as the hock’s cure provides enough. Set aside a quarter of the meat and rind mixture; mix the drained vegetables into the rest. Blanch the parsley in boiling water for fifteen seconds, drain, pat dry and chop roughly, then mix into the meat and vegetable mixture.
5. Line the terrine with two layers of cling film for extra support, leaving a ten centimetre overhang all around (to wrap the terrine once formed). Pack the meat and vegetable mixture into the terrine, placing the three reserved pieces of ham hock in the centre, then top with the reserved meat and rind mix.
6. Pour in enough of the warm cooking liquor to come to the level of the mixture, then press down lightly so a thin layer of liquor covers the meat and vegetables. Gently fold the overhanging cling film over to cover the top and place in the fridge overnight to set.
7. Put the water, wine vinegar, honey, thyme, bay leaf and seasoning into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the onions and carrot and simmer gently for twenty minutes, then add the cauliflower and tarragon and simmer for a further ten minutes.
8. Take off the heat, add the gherkins and pour into a bowl set over ice to cool quickly. Once cooled, add the chopped dill and store in airtight jars until needed.
9. When set, carefully remove the terrine from the mould and wrap tightly in an extra two layers of cling film. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
10. Remove the cling film from the terrine, place on a board and cut into slices. Put the soused vegetables in a pot and serve on the side, along with a basket of freshly toasted pain de campagne or warm French bread.
Read our interview with Raymond Blanc – where he tells how his career as a chef began…
See Rachel Khoo’s Christmas Kugelhopf cake