Braised Cabbage & Kale with Smoked Ham Hock

I won’t say much about this dish, I will let you cook it and find out for yourself. This is a perfect winter dish and a great way to get a rich, meaty main dish without actually using much meat. Most of all, it’s just plain delicious. Enjoy!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Braised Cabbage & Kale with Smoked Ham Hock
Serves 4 as a main dish

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 medium Onion, sliced
1 Head Green Cabbage, roughly chopped
1 Bunch Kale, roughly chopped
1 Smoked Ham Hock
4-6 Cups Water or Stock (I used 2 cups Beef Broth and 4 cups Water)
Approx. 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Heat a dutch oven or other heavy, oven-proof pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the sliced onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften. (Be careful with the salt at this point, because the ham will be quite salty itself and the saltiness will concentrate as the braising liquid reduces.) Add the ham hock to the pot (make sure to remove any string from the hock). Cook for another couple minutes, until the hock starts to brown, then turn the hock over (I used a pair of tongs) to brown on the other side. Keep cooking, and stirring the onions occasionally. When the onions are soft and translucent but not brown, add the chopped cabbage and kale. Stir (as much as you can – the pot may be quite full) to combine the greens and onions, and allow the greens to cook down a little. Add the liquid (stock/broth, water, or a combination) so that it comes up most of the way to the top of the greens and the hock, but does not completely cover them. The greens will release more liquid when they cook; but we want to make sure there is enough liquid in there to braise everything. Add the apple cider vinegar (you can use more or less depending on your personal preference, but don’t leave it out; it really ties the flavors together and brightens the dish). Stir to combine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cover your pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Then transfer the pot to your preheated oven and let it braise in the oven for about an hour. The greens will become tender and infused with the flavor of the smoked ham, and the hock will get nice and succulent and start to break apart when nudged with a spoon. Feel free to leave it in the oven to braise longer if it is not done after an hour! Time is your friend here – the dish will only get better the longer you cook it.

When ready, remove your pot from the oven and transfer it back onto the stove onto a burner on low heat. Remove the lid, and gently break up the ham hock away from the bones into bite size chunks with a wooden spoon. Stir everything to combine the chunks of meaty goodness with the meltingly tender greens. There will probably be a lot of liquid in the pot, so leave it on the burner for maybe ten more minutes so everything can reduce down a bit and the flavors can concentrate even more. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. It won’t need much seasoning – let the natural flavors of the ham, cabbage and kale really sing!

I served this as a main dish with a side of delicious, cheesy homemade mac & cheese seasoned with a dash of English mustard powder and Tabasco to give it a little kick to complement the greens (I used whole wheat pasta to make it a bit more nutritious and healthy… shh, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

There was a lot of braising liquid left after we had eaten all of the greens and the ham, so I froze it and used it the next week when making a hearty soup. Yum!

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Luxurious Herbed Scrambled Eggs for a Special Occasion

Wow, it’s been a while! Somehow, despite all the cooking and baking I did around the holidays, I could not bring myself to write about it. I think I go through rather a seasonal pattern, and tend to retreat into myself like a bear in hibernation in the late Fall and the Winter. I want this blog to come naturally and be a fun thing for me, and hopefully therefore more fun to read for you, so I allowed myself that hiatus and did not try to force out any posts. Thanks for being patient. 🙂

But I’m back now, with a renewed energy to write and some delicious recipes to share with you!

These scrambled eggs are a tasty and rather luxurious way to use up any spare partial bunches of herbs that you have hanging around. Maybe you bought some rosemary for a roast beef or chicken, but only used a few stems. Perhaps you have some parsley left over from a pasta dish, or some sage or thyme or whatever! Basil would go nicely too, but I stuck with more wintery herbs in keeping with the season. Go ahead and use any (preferably seasonal) fresh herbs that you have in the fridge, and perhaps one or two dried herbs, too, that you enjoy together.

I had this for brunch on New Year’s Eve with a couple of pieces of whole wheat toast. Delicious and celebratory for the special occasion, and it held me over until our big dinner that evening! I didn’t think of this until it was too late, but a glass of champagne would go fabulously…. You can serve this for dinner, too!

Luxurious Herbed Scrambled Eggs
Serves 2

Ingredients:

5 Large Eggs, good quality (free range, organic if you can)
1/4 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
Assorted Herbs, approx. 1/4-1/2 Cup, chopped finely (I used 1/2 bunch Italian Parsley, 3 leaves Sage, 2 stalks Rosemary, and a good couple of dashes of dried Dill – I love Dill in my eggs!)
Handful of grated Cheese (I used English Cheddar, but Parmesan, Gruyere, etc etc would go really nicely)
Sea Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp Butter
A bit of Canola Oil

Method:

Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl or large (2-cup or greater) measuring cup. Add the milk and cream. You may be tempted to skip the cream and just use milk, but for a special treat and to make this really luxurious, I encourage you to go for it and use the cream! You won’t regret it. Don’t season them yet. (I wait until the end to add salt, because if you add it earlier, it can turn the eggs grey and/or watery.)

Whisk the eggs, milk and cream until they are combined but you can still see some streaks of yellow yolk. I try not to overwhip my eggs – I know I learned this tip somewhere, but I don’t remember exactly what it does to be honest – but I think it’s tastier when there’s a little variation.

Melt the butter and oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. (The reason that we need to add some oil to the butter is that the butter will burn on its own.) The butter should be bubbling slightly.

Pour the eggs into the pan – they should sizzle. Allow them to set for about a minute without stirring them. Then lower the heat to medium-low and stir the eggs very gently. Continue to cook the eggs, stirring occasionally, until they are about halfway done to your liking. Then add the chopped herbs, and stir to combine.

Let them cook a little longer until almost done, then add the cheese and stir gently again. Continue cooking them, with one or two more stirs, until they are cooked to your liking and the cheese has melted. Then take the eggs off the heat and at the very end, stir in some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with your favorite toast – these eggs don’t need much else.

Bon appetit, and Happy New Year!