Cooking ham in cider imparts it with a flavour that is both delicious and sutble. In the restaurants we have also recently been experimenting with cooking small, peeled potatoes in cider which has gone down a real treat with the customers and also makes a great accompaniment to meat or fish. And a simple, creamy sauce made with the addition of spring onions finishes the combination off perfectly.
1 ham hock, soaked overnight in cold water
500ml medium cider
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
5 juniper berries
6-8 small waxy potatoes, peeled
150ml double cream
3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
Rinse the ham hock in cold water, then put it in a saucepan with the cider, bayleaf, peppercorns, thyme and juniper and cover well with cold water.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 1 -2 hours, skimming every so often, or until the meat is just coming away from the bone. During the cooking, add the potatoes and cook for about 10-12 minutes until tender, then remove from the pan.
Strain about 100ml of the ham cooking liquid into a small saucepan and simmer until it has reduced to about a tablespoon, then add the cream and simmer until it has reduced by one third then add the spring onions and continue simmering until the sauce has thickened then season if necessary.
To serve, reheat the potatoes in the cooking stock, cut a couple of chunks or slices from the hock, arrange on warmed serving plates and spoon over the sauce and serve with the potatoes.