Champ with ham hock

Noel McMeel serves slowly simmered ham hock with creamy Irish champ and caramelised onion gravy
Champ with ham hock
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the ham

  • 1 small ham hock
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered lengthways
  • 1 sticks celery, cut into three
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

For the champ

  • 4 large potatoes, preferably British queens, peeled
  • 100 ml whipping cream
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 50 g butter

For the onion gravy

  • 40 g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

Method

1. For the ham: put the joint in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, simmer for 1 minute then drain. Repeat the process twice more to remove as much salt as possible.

2. Return the blanched ham to the pan, add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Pour in cold water to cover and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hours.

3. To check if the ham is cooked, pull out the small bone close to the large one it should be loose and come out easily. Leave the ham in the stock for 15-20 minutes to allow the meat to soften and relax. Carefully lift out the ham and set aside until cool enough to handle. Reserve some of the cooking liquor to make the onion gravy.

4. For the champ: cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling salted water for about 20 minutes until soft. Drain and tip into a clean bowl. Mash with a potato masher or ricer to remove any lumps.

5. Bring the cream and spring onions to the boil in the saucepan. Add the mash and beat until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the butter. Keep warm.

6. For the gravy: heat some butter and olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onions until caramelised and evenly brown about 20 minutes. Take care not to rush the browning of the onions as this will ensure the gravy has a deep brown colour and sweet flavour.

7. Sprinkle over the flour and stir to absorb any cooking fat and juices. Add about 250ml of the reserved ham stock, stir well and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add more ham stock if the sauce is too thick. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.

8. Serve slices of the ham with the champ and onion gravy.

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