Smoked ham hock, mushrooms, sage and polenta
( SERVES 4 )
The enriching flavour of smoked ingredients - ham hock, chorizo or fish - is a welcome addition to winter dishes.
- Place the hock in a deep saucepan. Peel and chop the carrots and onions, add to the saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to the boil, then remove any surface froth. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer for an hour. Remove the hock to a plate and continue to cook the stock until reduced by half.
- Strain, and discard the vegetables. Return the stock to a clean saucepan and continue cooking until it reduces.
- Meanwhile, pull the meat off the bone and cut into large pieces.
- Quarter the mushrooms and add to the saucepan with the sage leaves, then cook until it has reduced by half.
- Add the shredded meat, cook for a few minutes and serve, spooning the mushrooms, stock and sage leaves over the polenta.
- To make the polenta, put the water into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a good pinch of salt and bring it to the boil.
- While whisking, pour in the polenta. It will thicken almost immediately, so use a wooden spoon to keep stirring.
- Reduce the heat as low as possible, cover the saucepan with a lid, and bring it to a simmer.
- Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the butter and parmesan and place a spoonful of polenta on each serving plate.