Ham hock and parsley risotto


“You can make several meals from a piece of boiled ham, from soup to sandwiches and even a jellied ham. The stock left after you’ve boiled the ham is so full of flavour it’s a crime to throw it down the sink. Use it for a good soup, or, as here, a risotto. You’ll need to start a day or two ahead, soaking the ham hock and cooking it in time to have some meat and stock for the risotto. The stock will keep in the fridge for four or five days, and you then have a couple of days’ worth of ham sandwiches or whatever, and then when you’re almost done with the ham, trim what’s left from the bone and shred it.

If you want to make the risotto straight away, crack on with cooking the ham and cut away some meat as soon as it’s cooked. I like to use not just the ham meat, but fat and rind in the risotto, so nothing’s wasted. If you cut the rind into small pieces and cook it with the onions it will just melt into the eventual risotto.

Risotto can’t be made with any old rice. The recommended types of rice – carnaroli, arborio and vialone nano – consist of grains that are selected and polished in a way that allows them to absorb as much flavour as possible and not disintegrate during cooking and stirring.”

Perfect with Gaymer’s Orchard Reserve Stewley

Ingredients – serves 4:

1 ham hock, soaked overnight in cold water
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 sticks of celery
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
Handful of parsley stalks

For the risotto:

Chopped fat, rind and meat from the ham hock, but not all of it, just a tablespoon or so of meat for each person
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
90g unsalted butter
200g carnaroli rice
About 1.2-1.5 litres ham stock
3tbsp chopped parsley (taken off the stalks used to cook the ham)
2-3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Wash the ham hock off and put it into a saucepan with the onion, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme and parsley stalks. Cover well with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 ½ – 3 hours until tender. Leave the ham to cool in the liquid then remove and strain the stock through a sieve. Melt 30g of the butter in a thick bottomed pan and gently cook the onions and chopped ham rind, if using, for 4-5 minutes until the onions are soft.
  2. Add the rice and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring every so often. Gradually add the stock a couple of ladles at a time, ensuring that each addition is absorbed before adding the next. Continue cooking and adding the stock for about 15-20 minutes until the rice is just cooked, then add the pieces of ham, parsley and Parmesan. Stir in the butter and season if necessary. Serve with extra Parmesan.

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