This ham hock recipe is usually a breakfast or brunch dish, but is good for any time of the day. This slow-cooked meat can be turned into many meals with little effort. Keep the cooking liquid to use as stock, as it's full of flavour. Add some frozen peas, cook for a minute or two, then blend for pea and ham soup, or add cooked chickpeas, smoked paprika and greens for a heartier dish.
1 smoked ham hock
1 onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
zest and juice of half a lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 slices sourdough bread
Olive oil for brushing 4 free-range eggs
4 figs, halved
2 handfuls watercress
1 small handful each of flat-leaf parsley, mint and basil, picked
2 tbsp macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped
salt and pepper
1. Place the ham hock in a large pot. Add the onion, bay leaves, garlic and enough water to cover the hock, about 2.5 litres.
2. Bring to the boil, skim then slowly simmer for 1½ hours, until the meat begins to come away from the bone.
3. Take off the heat and leave to cool. Once cool, pick the meat from the bone into a bowl, ready for action.
4. In a bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice, oil, vinegar and mustard and that's the dressing ready.
5. Brush the sourdough with a little oil and chargrill both sides.
6. Poach the eggs until just cooked in a little simmering water.
7. Toss the figs, watercress, herbs and macadamias in a salad bowl. Pop the eggs on the toast, toss some of the hock through the salad, add the dressing, season with salt and pepper, then serve.
Tip: Outside fig season, thinly sliced apples or pears can be used and macadamias can be replaced with almonds or hazelnuts. If there's no time to cook a hock, grill some smoky bacon instead and use that ... no excuses!