Burgundy (Bourgogne) is a region in France that is famous for its wine and its food. Three years ago we went there for a few days to discover the wine region and purchased some nice wines. When tasting white wines, often a appetizer called jambon persillé was served with it and I remember it was a good pairing. And so it was not hard to decide what kind of appetizer from Burgundy I was going to make for the Burgundian evenings I organised.
Jambon persillé is ham hocks simmered in aligoté (white wine from Burgundy) which is then turned into a terrine with parsley. In France the ham hocks are sold salted as palette de porc demi-sel, but I used fresh ham hocks. You could also add a pork’s foot (pork trotters), but my butcher had run out of them.
It is quite a bit of work to make this and the result was good but not spectacular, so I’m not sure if I’ll make it again.
For 1 terrine of about 30 cm (12″) by 10 cm (4″)
3 kilograms (6.5 lbs) ham hocks
1 pig’s foot, split (optional)
1 bottle (750 ml) aligoté
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
5 cloves garlic
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 Tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley (reserve the stems)
gelatin sheets to set 500 ml (2 cups) (optional)
Soak the ham hocks in cold water for 15 minutes to remove any blood and off flavors. (If using salted ham hocks, they need to soak for much longer and the water needs to be refreshed a few times.)
Discard the soaking water. Put the ham hocks in a stock pot with the onion, carrots, and leeks. Add the white wine.
You may notice that I inserted the cloves into the onions. This is a trick to make it easier to remove the cloves later, and to avoid removing them prematurely when skimming the stock.
Add cold water to just cover everything.
Bring to a boil, skimming away the scum that will rise to the surface.
When all or at least most of the scum is gone, it’s a good time to add the reserved parsley stems, the garlic, and the pepper corns. It is a nuisance to skim with those ingredients already in the stock.
Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 2-3 hours or until the ham is tender and cooked all the way through.
Meanwhile, let the parsley leaves from which you removed the stems soak in cold water to prevent them from drying out.
Start testing whether the meat is cooked after 2 hours of sommering.
Remove the solids from the stock, catching any liquid that drips from the solids.
Simmer the stock until reduced to about 1 litre (4 cups) to concentrate its flavor. Put a small empty bowl in the freezer so it cools.
Discard the vegetables. Allow the meat to cool until you can handle it.
Take the meat off the bones. You can easily separate the muscle groups with your fingers. Carve the fat off the rind and discard the rind.
You should end up with nice-looking fat and nice-looking meat, discarding all blood vessels, cartilage, and other stuff you don’t want in your terrine.
When the stock has been simmered down to the desired concentration, use a cheese cloth to filter it.
Put a bit of the stock in the bowl that you had cooled in the freezer to test whether the stock sets by itself. Refrigerate the bowl for an hour or so.
After an hour check whether the stock has set by itself. Since I didn’t use a pork trotter it was not a big surprise that it was only partly set.
So I soaked some gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes.
I then wrung out the gelatin sheets and added them to the hot stock.
And finally I stirred until the gelatin had dissolved.
Mix the fat with the parsley, mustard, and vinegar.
Line a terrine mold (a pound cake mold also works fine) with a triple layer of plastic wrap. Put a layer of the parsley mixture on the bottom.
Add a layer of meat, selecting the larger chunks and making sure that their fibers are aligned lengthwise. This will ensure that when you cut the terrine, the fibers will be cut short making the terrine more tender.
Add another layer of the parsley mixture. Keep adding meat and the parsley mixture until you have used up all the ingredients. Put the larger pieces of meat on the bottom and on the top, using the smaller ones for the middle. This will make it easier to cut the terrine.
Cover everything with the stock.
Close the terrine with the plastic wrap.
Put a weight on top of the terrine, and refrigerate it for 24 hours or until set.
The triple layer of plastic wrap makes it relatively easy to pull the terrine out of the mold.
It is easiest to slice when cold, but serve at room temperature.
Jambon Persillé is often served with pickled gherkins, but I liked to serve it with a vinaigrette made from extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and lots and lots of parsley.
This is especially good with aligoté, but many other white wines from Burgundy work as well, especially if they are not too oaked and don’t too have too much minerality.
16 thoughts on “Jambon Persillé (Ham Hock Terrine)”
That is a great photo of your Burgundian evening and all your happy dinner guests. Hosting events like that can be just as fun as cooking for it. I can barely seat myself and five of my friends comfortably in my small San Francisco apartment.
I like to share my passion. It is one of the advantages of living in a suburb rather than downtown that we have the space to do this. I draw the line at 16, though 🙂
The results look terrific. It’s a shame it didn’t tickle your tastebuds but, to be honest, I can’t get very excited about meat in aspic either. By the way, if you remove the rind and then add it to the stock for the reduction, it should help make it gel quite a bit….
That’s a good idea, hadn’t thought of that.
I don’t remember what I liked about it in Burgundy. Perhaps it was because we were getting this as an appetizer and we were famished after a long day of wine touring and tasting? 😉
That’s a great creation! It’s always good to see the food in context, and whether or not it tasted spectacular, it certainly looks it!
this does seem pretty involved, what was it that you didn’t like about the terrine? looks delicious from here 🙂
It was good, it just didn’t seem worth all that work. I think it was mainly that the flavor of the meat wasn’t very strong and the meat was a bit dry.
A lot of work and it looks excellent. A pity it did not excel.
Fabulous, Stefan. Absolutely fabulous!
I don’t know how I missed this post, Stefan, Oddly enough, it appeared on my iPad, seemingly out of nowhere. Anyway, what a shame! All that work and only a “good” dish results. That’s always such a disappointment. If it’s any consolation, it did look beautiful and was quite impressive looking. Placing cloves in an onion is a trick Mom showed me. 🙂
Thanks John. It was good, but after all that work I was expecting spectacular.
I would have cooked the hocks sous vide, or in stock, my way is usually half stock half tomato juice
Hi Keith, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’d like to try preparing this sous-vide. With tomato juice sounds nice, but it wouldn’t be a traditional jambon persillé anymore like that.