- 2 unsmoked ham hocks (each about 1.2 kg), rind scored
- 6 garlic cloves
- 5 tsp caraway seeds
- 2 tsp juniper berries
- 3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for rubbing on the hocks)
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 3 large onions, sliced
- 3 celery sticks, diced
- 500g potatoes, sliced
- 600g celeriac, peeled and sliced
The unsung hero of the vegetable world, knobbly, odd-shaped celeriac has a subtle, celery-like…
- 4 eating apples, cored and quartered
- 4 bay leaves
- 750ml dark beer
- 3 tsp soft light brown sugar
Ham hocks are very salty; to get rid of the excess, soak them in a pan of water for 8 hrs or overnight, changing the water a couple of times, then drain.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Crush or grate 4 of the garlic cloves, finely slice the other 2 and reserve them. Crush the caraway and the juniper seeds using a pestle and mortar. Mix 5 tsp of the spices with the crushed garlic and the olive oil. Make small, deep slits through the rind of the hocks, then rub the garlic and spice mixture all over the skin and flesh, pushing some of it into the slits. Rub more oil into the skin and season. Put in a large roasting tin and cook for 30 mins.
Remove from the oven and take the hocks out of the tin. If there are any burnt bits of garlic or spices in the bottom of the tin, scoop them out (otherwise they will taint the flavour of the cooking juices). Reduce oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
Spread the onions and celery out in the tin, sprinkling over some of the rest of the spices and some seasoning. Layer the potatoes and celeriac on top, season, add the sliced garlic and sprinkle over any remaining spices. The onions should be completely covered. Add the apple and the bay leaves.
Heat the beer in a saucepan, but don’t boil it, then pour it over the vegetables in the tin. Put the hocks on top, return to the oven and cook for 2½ hrs – baste the pork a few times and make sure that the potatoes and apples don’t get too dark (turn the apples over and baste them from time to time). When there’s 30 mins left, sprinkle the apple wedges with a little sugar and return to the oven.
After cooking, there shouldn’t be much juice left in the tin. But if the vegetables are too ‘soupy’, remove the hocks and keep them warm, then set the tin on the hob and simmer until some of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer everything to a shallow serving dish.