Christmas is well and truly here People!
Well, for us Chefs it certainly is.
It seems that amid this double dip (OOOer) recession our great Country is going through, the British Public are refusing to bow towards defeat, seem intent on staying calm and carrying on with a stiff upper lip.
We have been asked for Christmas menus and the like since late May/early June, and it appears other places around the Country have had similar experiences.
This is great news for us all who always look at least six months ahead, as it gives us an early indicator as to what to expect.
I always tend to get my Menu(s) for the Festive period written by the beginning of August to entice the Thousands of folk who come to us during the high Summer Month. This year, unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of custom and extra functions throughout the Holidays they have only just been set to print.
I am very pleased with the result this year, with a great selection of seasonally inspired foods playing the part of Christmas merriment in Gastro-form.
The first recipe from the menu is a homage to a beautiful old fashioned farmhouse staple; Ham Hock Terrine.
It's simplicity (although time consuming) and not only used the 'poorer' meat from the humble pig, but also conjured up Christmas and Summer and Spring.......and early Autumn when eaten.
I have decided to inject a little extra with the use of Haggis and, the becoming more popular, Goose.
2 medium onions, Rough chopped
6 sprigs of Thyme
8 Black Pepper Corns
350ml Dry Cider
¼ Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
100g Capers (surphine work best)
1kg Goose Thighs
1 Bulb Garlic, Sliced Horizontally
2 Sprigs Rosemary
Cracked Black Pepper
2 level tablespoons Sea salt flakes
8 Gelatine Leaves
- Place the Hocks, Onion, Thyme, Pepper Corns and Cider into a good sized saucepan.
- Cover the ingredients with cold water and bring to the boil.
- Skim away the detritus and reduce the temperature to the lowest setting. Simmer for approximately 3 hours or until the Ham is beautifully tender.
- During this time, Place the Goose Thighs in a roasting tin along with the garlic, Rosemary and Pepper and Salt.
- In a Pan, slowly melt the Fat. Pour over the Thighs, ensuring they are fully covered.
- Place tin on the stove top on the lowest heat and allow the fat to rise to a temperature of 87.7°C/190°F.
- Lay a sheet of greaseproof on top.
- Place on the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven (140°C/275°F/GM 1) and cook for 2 ½ hours.
- Remove both from heat when completed and allow to cool down.
- For the Goose, remove from tin and place in clean container. Pour over enough of the fat to fully cover the meat. Place in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Remove the hocks from the pan, and retain 500ml of the liquid. Discard the rest.
- Strip the Hocks down, removing all fat, bone and any gristle (the meat needs to end up being thin, small shredded strips).
- Combine the stripped meat with the Parsley and the Capers. Place in a container for 24 hours
- After the 24 Hour Period, remove the Confit Goose Legs from the fat and strip down to pieces the same size as the Ham.
- Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes to soften.
- Place the Goose meat into 2 cling film lined 1ltr terrine tins, pressing down firmly until tightly packed.
- Next, shape the Haggis into a Sausage shape, long enough to go the full length of the mould, and about 2 inches in diameter. Place on top of the Goose, centrally.
- Build the Hock meat around and on top of the Haggis, pressing into place, leaving a ½ inch gap at the top of the tin.
- Strain the retained Ham stock in to a pan, and warm through on a low heat.
- Squeeze out the water from the gelatine, and dissolve in the Hock Stock. Mix thoroughly.
- Slowly pour onto the Terrine, allowing the liquid to disperse amongst the meat. Once the Liquid stops soaking in and covers the Ham by ¼ inch, leave to cool.
- Cling film the top and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Cut out a piece of thick card that fits the top of the tin, lay on top and weigh down with tins or anything weighty and hygienic.
- Place in fridge over night.
- Remove weights and card, and turn out onto plastic tray.
Ideally the Terrine should then be refrigerated for 7-10 days before using, but can be sliced sooner.
Perfect with a simple salad, and some cracking Piccalilli.