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Ham Hock Brawn


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Posted (edited)

Brawn is a cold cut terrine or meat jelly most often made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig, typically set in aspic. Here we know it as Head Cheese. For this recipe only pork hocks are used. I'm using an 8 qt. stove top pressure cooker. A suitable sized Insta Pot should provide the same result. 

If you do not have a pressure cooker then cover the hocks with water and simmer them for 3-4 hours. Reduce the stock afterward. 

For the cure I use a 5% brine (5 oz. of salt) 1 tbsp. of cure #1, 1 gal. of water.  I normally cure 6 hocks at a time.

 

3 pork hocks, cured (ham hocks) 

4 cups of water or substitute 1 drinking box of apple juice to make 4 cups

1 tsp black pepper corns wrapped in cheese cloth 

2 tsp pickling spice wrapped separately

1 small onion quartered

 

Pressure cook 60 minutes, allow a natural release. Remove hocks to a pan to cool. 

Defat the stock. It's much easier to do at this time in the process. I use a fat separator

 

When the hocks are cool enough to handle, remove skin, scraping away excess fat, separate meat, fat and gristle from the bones. Place the gristle and skin in the freezer to set. You can add some or all of the fat to the mix if you choose, I prefer keeping only the skin and the bits of gristle.

 

I like to chill the meat before chopping into bit sized pieces, it cuts cleaner that way.

Spread the meat out in your pan and grind or fine chop the frozen skin and gristle spreading it over the meat.

 

Discard the pickling spice, add the cooked peppercorns to the meat mixture along with your seasonings.  There are many variations of seasonings you can use.  These are my favourite;

2 tsp rubbed marjoram

1 tsp course black pepper 

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 rounded tsp cayenne

3 green onions finely chopped

small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley or 2 tsp of dried

1 tsp mustard seed 

 

Combine with about a 1/2 cup of the stock and taste for flavour. I do not add salt. I find there is enough salt in the stock for my taste. 

 

Optional 1 or more tbsps of vinegar. I prefer 2 tbsp of cider vinegar. 

 

Lay saran wrap into molds with enough to overlap the entire mixture. I use miniature loaf pans.  I have also used a smaller bread pan.  Add the meat.   The density of the meat will determine the amount of jelly to fill the mould.

 

I use gelatine powder to strengthen the stock and pour it over the meat mix.  Float the aspic tamping the meat into place.  Cover with saran, refrigerate to set, about 8 hours.  I do not find it necessary to add weight as long as the meat is firmly in place. 

 

This recipe makes six miniature loaf pans or one smaller bread pan of Brawn.  It's great served on a cracker or specialty bread.  Enjoy

 

 

 

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Edited by K'man
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It's a labour of love KK, keeps a retiree busy:)

I do not keep it longer than a week in the fridge before eating and yes I vacuum seal, then freeze and gift some of it. 

 

 

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