Ham hock terrine, a traditional Romanian recipe for Christmas.
This isn’t really a ham hock terrine. It’s rather loads of meat and jelly. Flavorsome jelly none the less (should you love garlic and pork). I’ve been eating it ever since I can remember, although as a child I always got my grandmother to make some especially for me.
As in, jelly only please, no meats, nothing else. She had to strain the liquid through a sieve (blasphemy I tell you) for the smallest brat she knew. These days, I usually eat the same, just jelly, unless I make this ham hock terrine myself, and I know EXACTLY what I put in it. No rind, no fat (well a bit of fat), nothing nasty.
- 2-3 pig's trotters (optional)
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 250g cubed pork (shoulder)
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 onion, 2 carrots (optional)
- 20 black peppercorns
- 5-6 bay leaves
- 6 gelatine leaves
- Optional: pig's ear, stock bones, rind, pig's head
The key to this ham hock terrine (to give it’s Romanian name as well, “racituri” or “piftie”, and that would not make any sense in English), so the key to this dish is always the stock.
You can use trotters, pig’s head, stock bones and rind (skin) to make the stock, these all have natural gelatine in them, so the jelly sets well. After all, store bought gelatine (unless it’s specified vegetarian) it’s all from pigs.
But to make this fail safe, I simplified the recipe, and also used gelatine. So the ham hock is essential, trotters (cleaned and split in half) optional, other stock bones all well, optional. Use cubed meat, shoulder, collar, etc for the extra meat in the terrine.
Add all the meat, the ham hock, the onion and the carrots to a large pot with about 3 litres of cold water. Leave for 30 minutes. Add the peppercorns and the bay leaves. Do not add any salt as the ham could be salty.
Bring to a slow simmer and boil until the meat falls off the ham hock. Depending on size, could be 3 hours. Skim the top for impurities constantly. Add more water as it reduces. Once the meat has been cooked remove everything from the pot. Tear or cut the meat into small sizes. Discard all the rest and strain the stock to remove small bits and the peppercorns.
Return to the pot, make sure you have about 3 litres of stock. Add back the meat. Taste and only now season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to a slow simmer. Using a garlic press, (or make a paste from the garlic using the blade of the knife) add all the garlic to the pot and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes and turn the fire off.
Dissolve the gelatine sheets into a bowl with 100ml of cold water for 5 minutes. Rinse and add to the pot, mix well.
Dish the liquid and the pieces of meat (it helps if you stir with the ladle whilst you do it) into deep plates or bowls, almost to the top, then place in a cool place overnight to set.
Serve with a sprinkle of sweet (or hot should you prefer) paprika over the top.
Other popular recipes in this category:
- Best Romanian chicken paprikash with flour dumplings.
- Traditional cabbage rolls (sarmale) stuffed with minced pork and smoked meats.
- Chicken and noodles soup.