MARK HIX PRESENTS HIS HAM HOCK RECIPE WITH STICKY RUM BUTTER SAUCE
Two smoked or unsmoked ham hocks weighing about a kilo each, soaked overnight in cold water
24 or so cloves
5-6 tablespoons clear honey
2-3 tablespoons Demerara sugar
6-8 tablespoons of Just A Splash Rum
60-80g unsalted butter
To cook the ham hocks
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 large carrots, peeled and halved
A few sprigs of thyme
Traditionally ham has a sugary, spiced honey type glaze over the layer of fat which of course rum starts its life as in the form of sugar cane so it makes perfect sense to us it as part of the glaze to give it a little friendly festive kick.
Wash off the ham hocks and place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the onion, peppercorns, carrots and thyme. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is just starting to come off the bone. Leave to cool, then carefully remove the large bone that runs through the ham hock, leaving the small bone in. You don't have to do this but it just makes it more presentable. Keep the Ham cooking liquid to make a split pea and Ham soup.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. Line a large roasting tray with doubled-over foil then place the hocks on top.
Push the cloves into the rind of the ham then pour over the honey, sugar and a third of the rum and bake in the oven for about an hour, pouring over more rum every so often and basting it. The hocks should have a caramel colour on the outside, but be careful it doesn't burn. If it colours too much, then cover loosely in foil. Eat hot or cold and try it with the cranberry sauce.