Ham Hock Terrine Sous-Vide (Jambon Persillé)

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Two years ago I made jambon persillé for the first time, for a Burgundy-themed wine dinner. Jambon persillé is a terrine of ham hock (pork shank) with parsley. Back then I wrote that it was “quite a bit of work to make and the result was good but not spectacular, so I’m not sure if I’ll make it again”. The main reason why it was not spectacular, was that it was a bit dry and a bit bland. And so when I did decide to make it again, I decided to try preparing it sous-vide to make sure it would be tender and juicy, and to cook it in a stock made from pork trotters rather than water so the flavor of the pork would not leak into the stock. Because of the pork trotters, no gelatin is needed for the stock to set and this also increases the flavor.

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The result was outstanding this time around, well worth the effort. You could also use this technique to make a dish that is quite similar called brawn. Check out the link to see Conor’s prowess with a pig’s head. I’ll stick to the shank and feet for now. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

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2 ham hocks, about 2.3 kilograms (5 lbs)

2 pork trotters (pig feet)

1 bottle (750 ml) aligoté (dry white wine from Burgundy)

1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed

5 cloves garlic

1 leek, roughly chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 onion

3 cloves

1 allspice berry

1 bay leaf

few thyme sprigs

1 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) chopped fresh flatleaf parsley (reserve the stems)

Preparation

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Bring a bit pot of water to a boil. Add the ham hocks (more carefully than I did, although it does make for a nice picture) and blanch for a minute.

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Cool in cold water.

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Put the ham hocks on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

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Blanch the pork trotters for a couple of minutes as well. Blanching the ham hocks and the pork trotters serves to remove any ‘scummy’ bits.

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Prepare all the ingredients for the stock: 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed, 3 cloves garlic, 1 leek, roughly chopped, 1 carrot, roughly chopped, 1 onion, 3 cloves, 1 allspice berry, 1 bay leaf, a few thyme sprigs.

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Put the ingredients in a stock pot or pressure cooker, and add the whole bottle of aligoté.

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Add cold water to cover.

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Add a tablespoon of salt.

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Cook for 4 hours, or pressure cook for 2 hours.

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You will now have a wonderful pork stock.

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Strain it first with a colander…

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…and then with a fine sieve.

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Bring the stock to a boil and simmer…

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…until reduced to about 750 ml (3 cups).

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Allow the stock to cool and then refrigerate such that a layer of fat will form on top that can be removed easily.

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Put the ham hocks in individual bags and add about 250 ml (1 cup) of stock, fat removed, to each bag.

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If you don’t own a chamber vacuum sealer, it is best to freeze the stock first so you can vacuum seal the ham hocks with the stock. For such a long cooking time, a ziplock bag would be less appropriate.

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Vacuum seal the ham hocks with the stock.

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Cook sous-vide for 72 hours at 57ºC/135ºF.

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Pour the juices from the bags into a saucepan…

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…bring to a boil, and simmer to reduce to about 500 ml (2 cups).

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Once reduced, strain with a fine sieve and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Meanwhile, allow the ham hocks to cool such that you can handle them.

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Separate the meat and nice-looking fat from the bones, cartilage, and nasty looking bits.

You should end up with about 700 grams (1.5 lbs) of meat. Select about 150 grams (.33 lb) of the nicest looking fat. The rest can be saved for another purpose.

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Chop the fat.

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Combine the fat in a bowl with 8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) minced parsley, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 Tbsp mustard, and 2 Tbsp vinegar.

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Stir until the mixture is homogeneous.

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Line a terrine mold (or a pound cake mold) with a double layer of plastic wrap. Start with a thin layer of the parsley mixture on the bottom.

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Next cover with the biggest pieces of meat.

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Keep adding layers of the parsley mixture and of meat, putting the smallest pieces of meat in the middle.

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Cover with the stock.

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Add enough stock to barely cover.

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Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until set (8 hours should do the trick). There is no need to put a weight on top.

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Due to the double layer of plastic wrap, it is easy to take the terrine out of the mold.

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It is easiest to cut when it comes straight out of the refrigerator, but for the best flavor and tenderness it is best served at room temperature. It is also nice to put a slice of the terrine on a slice of bread, and then nuke in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Part of the stock will melt onto the bread.

Wine pairing

It goes without saying this is great with Aligoté, but another lighter white from Burgundy will do as well.

Flashback

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Risotto with Chard (snijbiet in Dutchis a humble yet tasty risotto.

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20 thoughts on “Ham Hock Terrine Sous-Vide (Jambon Persillé)

  1. Wonderful classic dish! Looks superb! The color of the meat surprises me. I wouldn’t expect such a beautfiul pink without using sodium nitrate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your terrine looks beautiful: have made this but not awhile! Much more simply I am afraid!!!! But I do protest Milord: brawn may be made in Ireland but it is not an Irish dish! There would not be a Christmas, Easter, birthday or any other kind of party ANYWHERE in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Western Russia, Belarus, Poland etc etc that would not have brawn, roughly as Conor made it, as the centrepiece ‘primo piatti’ on the table 😀 !! Even now I make it at least every couple of months . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I stand corrected: I just assumed it was Irish because I had never heard of it before and Conor made it. Should have done some digging first. Do you go the whole way like Conor did in his post?

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      1. Stefan: presently living on a ‘continent’ and not in a ‘country’ one somehow assumes that all Northern Europeans have more-or-less the same menu!! I really have just learned that Holland may not make brawn as a matter of course 🙂 ! Have rechecked Conor’s: actually the usual for the Baltics is to use pig trotters and oft bony bits of veal and just perhaps a pig’s head if the occasion warrants it to soften the flavour but add natural gelatine – otherwise ’tis much the same with each family naturally having its ‘secrets’ 🙂 !! Some even add pieces of ‘stewing’ pork or veal to add to the protein component.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am having a french-themed Christmas party this year. This will be perfect for it! I am going to practice on it this weekend (11/20). Have you ever frozen this? I am wondering if it turns out well this weekend whether I can freeze it and save for the party on 12/12. PS, I love your site and have made many of your recipes over the years. Thanks so much for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jeanne, that is great to hear. I love it when you make something and leave a comment. I have never frozen this and I think the texture will suffer at least a bit from freezing. If you quickly cool the sous-vide bag while it is still closed in ice water, you can then refrigerate it for weeks (11/20 to 12/20 should be fine). Then heat up the bag again for some hours and pick up the recipe from there. Please let me know how it turns out.

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  4. Made this last week for a French Country Christmas party. It was DELICIOUS! I love how well the cooking juice gels up and makes the most flavorful aspic. I separated the meat from the bones, and froze that and the aspic separately because I made it two weeks ahead. I let both warm up, added some whole hard boiled quail eggs (mostly for looks, they might have added more flavor if they were pickled) and a little bit of chopped cornichons with the parsley, and it was really good. Thanks for the recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I made this recipe a while ago and was happy with the results. Just made it again but used pork cheeks (yum) instead of ham hocks.. Also did not have white white so used a cote du rhone.. Added sous vide carrots (sliced rounds) on the sides and top (bottom) as a decorative element, and a layer of cartelized onion inside. also added some row of cornichons.. it was really good.

    Your trotter stock is excellent and really versatile…. way better than jello:)

    Liked by 1 person

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