Honey-roasted ham hock with red cabbage and piccalilli

Jason Atherton's melt-in-the-mouth ham takes a little time to prepare, but the results are definitely worth it
By Jason Atherton
Honey-roasted ham hock with red cabbage and piccalilli
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus overnight standing
  • Effort: medium


  • 2 small ham hock
  • 1 large onion, , peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, , peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, , trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, , peeled
  • 1 sprigs thyme
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 40 g English mustard
  • 40 g French mustard
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 100 g demerara sugar
  • 1 handfuls whole cloves
  • 1 handfuls leaves rosemary

For the piccalilli

  • 750 cauliflower, , cut into florets
  • fine sea salt, , for sprinkling
  • 550 ml white wine vinegar
  • 300 ml malt vinegar
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 30 g English mustard
  • 1.5 tbsp cornflour, , mixed with 2-3 tbsp water
  • 300 g silver skin onions
  • 200 g cornichons, , drained and diced

For the pickled red cabbage

  • 1 medium red cabbage
  • 150 g butter
  • 15 juniper berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 75 g demerara sugar
  • 250 ml red wine vinegar, , or other red wine vinegar
  • 300 ml port
  • 300 ml red wine


1. For the piccalilli: spread the cauliflower out on a large tray and sprinkle with salt. Cover with cling film and leave in a cool place overnight.

2. Next day, rinse the cauliflower under cold running water and drain well.

3. Put both the vinegars into a wide pan, bring to the boil and boil steadily for about 20 minutes until reduced by a quarter.

4. Mix the sugar, turmeric and mustard together, then add to the vinegar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for a few minutes.

5. Stir in the cornflour mixture and cook, stirring, for another 4-5 minutes, to cook out the cornflour.

6. Add the cauliflower and onions and stir well. Simmer for 2 minutes, then take off the heat and add the cornichons, stirring the mixture well.

7. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal immediately. Try not to use metal-topped jars as the vinegar will rust the metal. The piccalilli is best left to mature for a few weeks before serving.

8. For the Pickled red cabbage: core and finely shred the cabbage.

9. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the cabbage and heat gently for 2-3 minutes.

10. Tie 10 of the juniper berries and the bay leaf in muslin and add to the pan with the sugar, wine vinegar, port and red wine. Cook slowly for 2-3 hours until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with a little sea salt.

11. Spoon the mixture into sterilised kilner jars. Seal and keep in a cool place for 3-4 days.

12. Rinse the ham hocks well under cold running water and put them into a large saucepan with the onion, carrot, leek, garlic, thyme and peppercorns and pour in enough cold water to cover the meat.

13. Bring to the boil, then skim off any scum from the surface. Simmer, covered, for 3-5 hours until the hocks are very tender ' the bone should slide easily out of the meat.

14. Leave the hocks to cool slightly in the liquid until you can handle them, then remove and peel off the skin, leaving the fat on. (Save the stock as this makes a great base for pea and ham soup.)

15. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.

16. Score the fat on the hocks in a criss-cross pattern and put them in a large roasting pan.

17. In a small bowl, combine the two mustards, honey and demerara sugar.

18. Spread the mixture over the ham hocks and stud with the cloves and rosemary needles.

19. Roast the hocks for 15-20 minutes until the glaze caramelises. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 5 minutes.

20. When ready to serve, put the pickled red cabbage into a saucepan (remove the muslin bag first) and warm through over a low heat until hot (or just warm). Crush the remaining 5 juniper berries and stir them through.

21. Carve the ham hocks and serve with warm pickled red cabbage and piccalilli.

Rate This Recipe