Friday, April 16, 2010
The other day at McCall's Meat & Fish Company, which was probably the third time in a week I was there, I saw that Nathan and Karen started offering smoked ham hocks. Oh joy. This reminds me of a particular ham that the Chinese, particularly Hong Kong, use in their stir fries. It's called "Virginia ham" and it's absolutely delicious. Think of it as an Asian version of spam-on-a-bone. The Chinese use the bone primarily for flavoring soups and can be treated like bacon. According to Wikipedia, "Virginia ham" is reminiscent of Jinhua ham from Mainland China. This is all new to me. At a few bucks a pound, I bought one smokey hock.
Instead of using it to flavor a split pea soup as Nathan suggested, I decided to make a "hash". I cut the meat off the bone, including my favorite parts, tendon and connective tissue. The meat is completely smoked through so you can start sampling the tasty meat. It really is tasty.
Since a hash taste best when cooked in a skillet, I busted out my favorite pan by Lodge. For $35, this thing will live longer than me. A note to Jeni, please include this in my coffin - along with my knives, whiskey and my iPod. My underground party has to continue right? Have the pan on low heat for at least 10 minutes to really load up the skillet and sauté the ham cubes till they are nice and brown. Thanks to the White on Rice Couple for their super helpful video on shooting food with the flash. Check out their work, it's solid.
Once the ham hocks are browned, take them out. Don't even think about washing that skillet. Sharing is caring, so you're going to share that ham hock fat with the potatoes. I halved these baby yellow potatoes for easier chewing as well as making it easier to cook through. Fry the potatoes with a few sprigs of rosemary and add salt & pepper to taste, maybe even some cayenne pepper for a kick. Or you can Asian-ize this dish with the lovely Maggi. Because we were in a rush to check out the Thirsty Crow bourbon bar in Silver Lake, I threw in some chicken broth and covered the skillet with a baking sheet to do some hot sauna action. In a few minutes, your potatoes are now cooked through.
Add your choice of veggies. I love leeks and chopped them into 'rings'. Sauté for 3-4 minutes and then add the ham hock cubes back in. Do a final taste test for seasoning and you're good to go. A very simple dish that took less than 20 minutes to cook.