Braised Ham Hock with Fennel

01. May 2008 Pork 2

I woke up early to stop by the farmers’ market before work on Wednesday. I wanted some fresh bacon so I said hello to Mike from Tamarack Hollow Farm. He still remembers me as the girl who ordered half a suckling pig and a whole goose almost two years ago, and for that I remain loyal. With my nice slab of bacon, he also introduced me to a healthy-sized ham hock and rattled a recipe. I didn’t write it down but four days later, I made up a recipe using the three words I still remembered: fennel, tarragon and braise.

Braising is something I love to do during the colder months. Even though I used potatoes and beans in this recipe, the fennel and the tarragon made it more spring than winter. Instead of red wine, I splashed half a cup of the Austrian Gruner Veltliner I picked up from the store because of its beer cap and chubby bottle. The combination made a warm yet bright dish perfect for spring.

1 fresh ham hock
1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly
3 sprigs of tarragon, stemmed
1 1/2 cup of white beans, soaked overnight
1 leek, chopped
a handful of baby carrots
4 white potatoes, peeled, quartered
1/2 cup of white wine
salt, pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Meanwhile, in a heated large Dutch oven, brown all sides of the ham hock until it has a nice golden color. Remove to a plate.
2. You should have some oil rendered from the ham hock. If there’s not a lot, add some oil and heat it up. Sauté the leeks until soft. Add the potatoes and cook until slightly brown. Add the tarragon, fennel and baby carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the wine and the beans. Let simmer until the liquid evaporates a little. Add the ham hock in the middle of the vegetables. Cover and braise in the oven for 1 hour. After an hour, turn the ham hock, cover again and braised for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pot rest, half-covered. When ready to serve, slice off the meat from the bone and serve with the vegetables.

Related post/s:
Suckling pig from Tamarack Hollow Farm
Goose from Tamarack Hollow Farm

2 thoughts on “Braised Ham Hock with Fennel”

  • 1
    trevi on October 9, 2011

    I tried your recipe and deviated by omitting the beans but adding fresh shelled peas at the end and probably more fennel than you did along with some sprigs of the bulbs. I then made a german potato dumpling. Next time I will add spaetzel instead for variation. You recipe is the best I have ever had and I will continue to make this during the winter months. The fennel is spectacular with the fresh hock. If one cant find fennel fennel seeds will do with celery. Next time I will try beer instead of white wine maybe with brussel spouts. The important thing is the fresh hock, we both know that, dont we? Let’s cook up a storm this winter!

  • 2
    cia on October 10, 2011

    Those all sound like good substitutions! I can’t wait for it to be cold again!

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