Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Pork Hock Ragu

It's quite common to find cured pork hocks but of late I've noticed that fresh pork hocks are now available.

pork hock© by Haalo

They do look like mini legs of pork but I wouldn't recommend roasting them as they are too fatty and don't really contain enough meat to make it worth while.

pork hock© by Haalo

What I prefer to do is turn them into a ragu for pasta - it's a two part process, the first being a slow braise until the meat falls off the bone. The second uses the braised meat and it's accompaniments to enrich a sauce base made with leeks, pancetta and tomato.

pork hock ragu© by Haalo

Pork Hock Ragu

For the braise:
2 pork hocks
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
10 sage leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled
chicken or vegetable stock

For the ragu:
2 leeks, sliced finely
1 stalk celery, chopped finely
100 grams pancetta, cut into small lardons
tomato puree
fresh parsley, finely chopped

Make the braise:

Add a little oil and a knob of butter to a heavy oven-proof pot and place over a medium heat - when the butter has melted and is sizzling, add in the onions, carrots, celery, garlic cloves and sage. Sauté gently until softened and just starting to colour.

Add the pork hocks to the pan - cook for about a minute each side before adding enough hot stock to just cover the hocks. Increase the heat until the stock is simmering and then cover and place in a pre-heated 150°C oven.

Make sure you turn the hocks every half hour to ensure even cooking. You'll need to cook this until the meat is falling off the bone, at least a couple of hours - the time will depend on the size of the hocks.

pork hock© by Haalo

You can see from the photo that the hock is basically falling apart and that is exactly what you want. Remove the hocks and place them to one side.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables and place them in a bowl - they will be used for the ragu.

Take the hocks and pluck out the meat, breaking it into bite sized pieces as you go. Store this is a separate container. The skin, fat and bones are discarded - they have done their job and added flavour to the meat.

You will have quite a bit of leftover liquid - this is a mix of stock and fat. You can store this in the fridge where the fat will separate and solidify leaving you with a layer of pork flavoured stock which can then be frozen and used in other dishes.

Make the ragu:

Drizzle a little oil and a knob of butter into a skillet and place over a low heat - when the butter has melted add in the leek celery and pancetta. Cook gently until the leek and celery has softened but not coloured. Add in the reserved braising vegetables and pork meat and then pour in enough tomato puree to just cover the ingredients.

Simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened and finish with a good handful of chopped parsley.


  1. Looks delicious! I recently found fresh hock slices, and stewed them with kimchi. Tasty.

  2. I'm a big fan of pork hocks and that sounds so good! Especially if it were on some homemade pasta...

  3. Beautiful. What a great idea.

    In HK, we tend to make soups with them with black moss, black eyed peas, dried dates and other herbs.

    A completely different use, but the same principles in using them to coax add flavour and gelatine.

  4. Thanks Vicki - that sounds really tasty too

    Thanks Brilynn - this ended up over fettucine, delish!

    Thanks Jess - that also sounds wonderful, I think there's a world of tasty dishes using pork hock

  5. That photo of the meat falling off the bones has me drooling. For real.


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