Monday, 12 December 2016

Beer Braised Pork Knuckles.

... with Caraway, Garlic, Apples and Potatoes
From Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson.
- A ham hock (or hough) or pork knuckle is the lower leg segment of the hind leg of the pig.

2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 garlic cloves
2 pork knuckles or hocks, rind scored
2 onions
2 eating apples, cored and quartered
4 baking potatoes, or 2 pounds other large white skinned potatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise
2 cups good amber or dark ale (beer - not Guinness or stout)
2 cups boiling water - to make a gravy

Preheat the oven to 220C.
Peel the onions and slice them into rounds and add them to the bottom of a roasting tin, making a bed or platform.
Put the salt and caraway seeds into a bowl, mince or grate in the garlic, and stir to combine.
Add the pork knuckles and rub them well with the caraway mixture, getting it into the slits in the rind where it was scored.
Sit the knuckles on top of the onions and cook them for 30 minutes.

Take the tin out of the oven and quickly arrange the apples and potatoes around the knuckles.
Carefully pour 1 cup of the beer over the knuckles, so they are basted as the liquid pours into the tin.
Put the pan back into the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 160C and roast for 2 hours.

Turn the oven up again to 220C, and baste the hocks with the remaining beer.
Roast for 30 minutes more.

Remove the tin from the oven and transfer the apples and potatoes to a warmed serving dish.
Lift the knuckles onto a carving board and leave the onion and juices in the tin.
Put the tin on the stove over medium heat and add 2 cups boiling water, stirring to deglaze the pan to make a gravy.
Transfer the gravy to a serving bowl.
Take the crackling off the knuckles and break it into pieces, then add them to a serving bowl.
Pull or carve the pork meat and add it to the bowl with the crackling.
Serve with the apples, potatoes, gravy and some German mustard.
Make Ahead Note:
The pork and onions can be put in roasting tin up to 1 day ahead.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Just before cooking, rub with the salt, caraway and garlic and cook as directed.
Making leftovers right:
Leftover pork can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 3 days.
Eat it cold or reheat gently in a saucepan with leftover gravy, until piping hot.
You should store any leftover gravy in a separate airtight container in the in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
Leftover pork can be frozen for up to 2 months, tightly wrapped in foil, then defrosted overnight in the refrigerator.
Even if you have an amount too small to be useful by itself (a likely outcome), simply bag and mark it up and freeze it for future use in the Pantry Paella recipe.

Uses beer as the main cooking liquid, flavoured with garlic, onions and caraway.
The dish also contains sliced apples.
If you braise or stew with beer or stout then the liquid is cooked for a long time and mellowed and reduced, so usually you do not have a "beery" taste in the finished dish.
The sweetness of the apples should also help to soften any bitter notes from the beer.
If you still finds the sauce not to your taste then adding a pinch or two of sugar can also help.
But if it remains a concern then a dry cider could be used instead of the beer.

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