RECIPE: Braised Ham Hocks with Cabbage, Apples & Kraut
Braised Ham Hocks with Cabbage, Apples & Kraut (serves 4) by Barbie Aknin of Community Cuisine
Rockside Ranch ham hocks are smoked, sweet, and make a delicious slow-braised winter dish. Here I’ve prepared them with traditional Polish or German sweet & sour flavors. The leftover broth can be used for soup. Leftover pork can be pulled off the bone, shredded and pan-fried for sandwiches or as a topping for salad with orange slices, radishes, and a honey vinaigrette.
For the Hocks
- 1 large or 2 medium smoked ham hocks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- 6 juniper berries
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 large carrots, scrubbed and quartered
- 2 small onions, peeled, halved then stuck with the cloves pushing them into the onion as you
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- 3 ribs celery, washed and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
For the Glaze
- 1 – 22 oz. bottle dark beer such as a stout, apple cider or juice can be substituted for beer
- ¼ cup honey
For the Cabbage
- 2 Tbls. butter or lard
- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium head cabbage, shredded or sliced thinly
- 2 apples, peeled and shredded or sliced thinly
- 1 Tbls. white vinegar or to taste
- ½ cup pork stock
- ¾ cup beer (the remainder of the bottle and optional; apple juice can be used instead)
- 1 pinch ground allspice
- 2 to 4 Tbls. honey
- 1 tsp. Caraway seeds (optional)
- ½ to 1 cup raw fermented sauerkraut (optional)
- Salt and white pepper to taste
STEPS — Braising the Ham Hock
- If using a Dutch oven, preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Rinse the hock and lightly score through the skin with a sharp knife to help release the fat. Place it in a lidded dutch oven or crockpot that just fits the meat with a bit of extra space.
- Add enough water to cover half of the hock.
- Add the spices and vegetables to the pot and cover.
- If using a Dutch oven, bring the water to a boil on the stove, cover and place on the center rack of the oven. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and bake 1-1/2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender and almost falling off the bone. My hock was 3.5 pounds and took a little over two hours.
- If using a crockpot, set the crockpot to high. Follow crockpot booklet for timing.
- Remove the ham hock and place it on a rimmed baking dish or pie plate. The hocks should almost be touching. Cool, cover and refrigerate if you are doing this as a two day process.
- Strain the broth pressing the solids to extract the juices and reserve the broth for another use.
STEPS — Finish the Ham Hock
- If chilled, set on the counter to warm to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
STEPS — Make the Glaze
- In a medium saucepan (the beer will foam and expand) add 2 cups of the beer and the honey.
- Simmer until the mixture has roughly reduced by half.
- Add the additional 2 tablespoons honey if desired.
- Pour mixture over the ham hocks and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, basting often, until meat is completely tender and glazed.
STEPS — For the Cabbage
- While the hocks are baking, melt the butter in a lidded dutch oven.
- Over medium heat, add the onions, stir and cover for 4 to 5 minutes or until wilted. Remove the lid and continue to sauté until lightly golden.
- Add the cabbage, apples, remaining beer or ¾ cup apple juice, pork stock, vinegar, allspice, caraway seeds (if using) and honey.
- Bring to a boil, cover leaving a crack to allow steam to escape, and simmer for 15 minutes or until you like the texture.
- Remove lid and simmer to reduce extra liquid if needed.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the raw sauerkraut to taste.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the cabbage on a platter nestling the ham hock on top.
About the Chef
Barbie Aknin of Community Cuisine has provided cooking instruction in corporate settings, cooking schools, private events, and in her own home for more than twenty years.
Community Cuisine brings people together in the kitchen to cook, to learn, and to celebrate. We teach the art, technique, and value of cooking by sharing wisdom from culinary traditions past and present. All classes incorporate professional cooking methodology that offers our students the tools they need to tackle any type of cuisine or diet.
To learn more about Community Cuisine, visit www.communitycuisine.com