Ham Hock Persillade

Some neighbours of ours in England recently moved from Bexhill on Sea to the wilds of Bonny Scotland. As with most house moves, it was a chance for them to de-clutter. Fortunately for me Mr Neighbour managed a local bookstore and as a result of this had a house packed full of a wide variety of books. I assume these had been come by through honest means and he didn’t shove a book down his trousers each night as he went home. It would have been churlish to ask as I was the lucky recipient of an eclectic collection of books.

One of them was Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch. I have to confess that in the past I have had no f*****g time for him, he swears too much…Jokes aside (yes, that was a little joke) I just hadn’t ever bought any of his books or watched any of his programmes so I was a little reluctant to even read the book, let alone use it. I’m so glad I did delve into its pages…a lot of very uncomplicated recipes and menus, dishes that I actually wanted to cook. Sorry Mr Ramsay, you bl**dy surprised me!

Persillade (1)

A local butcher regularly sells cooked ham hocks. It’s the knee basically, cooked and then sold with the gelatine (formed by the cooking liquid) for a bargain price of less than £3 (that’s about the same in Euro and a few US dollars more). I often buy them as the ham picked off the bones is great in sandwiches or soup and the dogs love the bones which keep them entertained in the garden for hours. Result all round.

I came across a recipe in the book, very grandly titled Ham Hock Persillade which reminded me of the delicious brawn my mum makes. The recipe called for cooking the ham and reducing the stock with gelatine to solidify it. No need for that, my hock was already cooked and covered in the delicious stuff. I halved his recipe which he says serves 6-8. Even my halved version (using pickled garlic instead of gherkins as I didn’t have any) would easily have fed 8 as a starter, probably with a little left over. I served it as a starter (for 5 people) thickly sliced on top of a salad of spinach and watercress and also as canapés (there were 6 of us for drinks and nibbles), cut into little cubes and served with some very retro cocktail sticks!

Persillade (6)


  • 1 large cooked ham hock and its gelatine
  • 2 tbsp large capers, cut into slices
  • 2 tbsp pickled garlic, thinly sliced
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley finely chopped

You will need a loaf tin or a deep plastic container.

Remove the gelatine and skin from the hock and place into a saucepan with about half a cup of water.

Pull the meat off the bones (the bones will now also go into the saucepan) and shred it. Set the meat aside.

Boil the skin, bones etc for about 7 or 8 minutes then drain the liquid and leave it to cool slightly.

Mix the shredded meat with the capers, garlic (or use gherkins), parsley and some freshly ground pepper. You probably won’t need salt as ham hocks tend to be quite salty. Put this mixture into a loaf tin or plastic tub lined with cling film then pour the liquid over until the mix is completely covered. Tap the tin or terrine gently to get rid of any air bubbles, cover with cling film and place a weight on top. Chill overnight or until it has set.

Persillade (10)

When you are ready to serve, peel off the cling film on the top and invert the container onto a serving plate. It should slide out easily, then you can peel the remaining film off. Serve cut into thick slices (Mr Ramsay serves his with piccalilli which I imagine must be very good). A really impressive but not too tricky to make dish. Would be great for a picnic too as it’s very portable when still in its mould.

Thanks Mr Ramsay, a flippin’ marvellous recipe!


55 thoughts on “Ham Hock Persillade

  1. When I was a child, we lived on a small farm and Dad regularly went pig hunting in the bush – so we got to eat the whole pig. Mum always made brawn and I still remember the taste and smell to this day.
    When I was a farmers wife I made brawn whenever hubby killed a pig, but that wasn’t very often.
    Just last week there was a special at the supermarket of half pig’s head.
    I can’t remember the last time that happened.
    I wonder what they have been doing with the heads for the last twenty odd years?

    1. I have a friend who breeds pigs and she tells me the heads usually get sent to China. The Chinese are obviously onto something we’ve mostly forgotten. Lovely recipe, btw, Chica!

    2. I too like Gordon but the Potty Mouth is more than I can take. He needs to take a course in proper English. But boy, his recipes are great!

  2. Lovely!! We get these at our butchers in Germany, they’re delicious! I might give it a try sometime, you’re making it sound so f***ing easy to make 🙂

  3. Ha ha – I’m no fan of Gordon Ramsey, but that does look good. I keep meaning to make brawn, but I don’t think I can get a whole pig’s head in to my largest saucepan… 😉

      1. I have actually done that before. I shared a head (cut down the middle) and slow cooked it in vegetable stock, based on something that Fergus does. The whole face becomes crackling and the cheeks and brain were particularly delicious 😉

      2. I was surprised how good the brain was. I like calf’s brain, which is probably the most common one to eat and thought the pig brain was perhaps even nicer. Sadly I don’t think they are very easy to come by here without the rest of the head, though heads are easily obtained.
        Maybe we should cook brawn together – you get quite a lot of meat from a head 🙂

      3. Yum! I can order calf’s brain from the butcher, but they are about £4.50 each, in comparison to about €2 in Barcelona. Sheep’s brain is even cheaper, but I don’t think I’ve seen pig’s brain there. I’ll have to ask the pig lady next time. She sells blood, so why not the brain 🙂

  4. If you think the British versions of Ramsay’s shows are bad, you should see the dumbed-down and even more confrontational American versions. No doubt about it, though: the man can cook. I’m sure he’d approve of the pickled garlic substitution. Brilliant!

    1. Such a shame isn’t it the tactics used to “entertain” us L I agree, he can cook though and although some of his recipes I’ve seen I just wouldn’t want to tackle at home, these were really user friendly!

  5. I have found his recipes to work amazingly well which makes him quite a winner in my books and I don’t mind his language however colourful it is. Those cooked ham hocks are cheap and seem to feed quite a few people. I shall look out for them here 🙂

  6. Interesting…I don’t think I can find it in Spain, can I? Although I’m sure that being made with pig they probably have something similar. You made me laugh with the retro cocktail sticks! Hahaha , have a great weekend!

    1. I’ve never seen it in Spain. The closest you’ll get is codillo which they do sell in Mercadona and butchers – you’d have to cook it yourself and then add some gelatine to the stock but you could flavour it how you like!

  7. Tiene muy buena pinta Tanya. A mi no me disgusta Ramsey, tampoco soy muy fan,ni tengo ninguno de sus libros… tendré que echarles una ojeada de una j&%**dida vez!! 😉 Jejejejeje!

  8. Clap! Clap! Clap!! Wake up and give the guy a chance – ‘pottymouth’ [who probably brought up four beautiful children on the proceeds of said ‘f . . k’ series and series and series!] is NO MORE! Do give his book and series ‘Ultimate Home Cooking’ a chance! I have been prepping most of my meals for the last few months from that!!! Enjoying his wonderful relationships with his kids at the same time [kids are not actors!!!]. True home cooking tweaked to be that of ‘today’ like the great recipe you have provided. Oh, by the way, his autobiography also shows exactly how hard the guy has worked . . .

      1. Accidentally getting back to this post I am more than a little surprised at the strength of negative feeling some seem to feel for Gordon R – OMG: bigger matters in the real world than he! I fully maintain my feelings: a hugely hard-working and clever background and wonderful recipes for one like me who does not cook ‘European’ for more than 1-2 a week! A Scottish would-be footballer and I could not have less in common but I have a lot of thanks for his teaching me. And by no means do I agree about his current series: am still ‘playing’ almost midnight ‘catchups’ and I do not think his kids were coerced: perchance they have just learned what ‘business’ means in this day and age . . .

  9. I’ve never heard of this recipe and you presented the dish as a real treat….
    As for Ramsey’s tv programmes, here they come translated into Italian , but most of the words are covered by loud beeps….!

  10. A ham hock purse?! Ahhh NOW I see. Mr G Ramsey has something to do with it. Must be another one of his grabs for credibility after we all got heartily sick of the shouty one striding up and down his various kitchens screaming himself hoarse at poor long suffering contestants and employees. We are to believe that he is a “nice man” and I have actually watched a couple of his, in the words of one Mr Billy Connolley, “wee beige jobbies” of a cooking show and you AINT FOOLING ANYONE Mr G Ramsey! Those kiddies of yours look most bemused at your fawning attention. You might have scripts for them but you can’t fudge the lack of on screen chemistry that is AWOL. You don’t interact with your kids as a rule do you Mr G Ramsey, unless there are ratings to be had or apps to be sold. My mum used to make brawn as well Ms Chica. She would start with gravy beef and a pigs head with eyes in it. I am starting to think that my veganism today stems from memories of that pigs head and her 101 on how to remove the eyes…Mum made Mr Stephen King look tame. I don’t think I will be making ham hock purses Ms Chica. I will leave it to the pro’s, the curious and Mr G. effing Ramsey

    1. This one definitely was not going to work for you and after childhood traumas with pigs and eyes, then Mr Ramsay being all rude and shouty I’m surprised you’re even still talking to me 😉 I need to see these programmes with his kids (I bet they’re a but cheesy which is at least veggie if not vegan 😉 ) and see what I think….

      1. Not cheesy at all but pretty sad as his kids are SO stilted with him. It looks like they expect to be yelled at any moment. Some of the girls (he has a few…) are so quiet and shy with him you can only imagine how much shouting goes on in that household. He (and they…SO scripted…) keep saying “WOW” and “Fantastic” and other superlatives. Looks like Mr G effing Ramsey has been having lessons from vacuum cleaner salesmen who get you to agree with what they are selling by constantly getting you to echo their sentiments. I am not a Mr G effing Ramsey fan. I don’t like bullies but my daughters have some of his books and swear by his recipe for tiramisu that they trot out every Christmas.

    2. You seem to have watched his various series more than once! If SO negative, why waste your time clicking on 🙂 ? Am just a wee bit worried for your BP!!!

      1. Oh, the name is VERY feminine [not that this would be of importance!] – ‘Eha’ actually means ‘last light of day’ in Estonian . . . am just wondering a wee bit why Tanya courteously had to read and comment . . . and may I suggest ‘once or twice’ hardly counts in the totality of matters . . . . I have three books and dozens of TV shows on this professional plus personal meetings ‘on my side’ [no,. he is no favourite – I just get around!!] . . . . end of comments from this side . . .

  11. Yum Chica! I love all things meaty and brawny. Don’t care for Gordon’s swearing either but he can cook. I watch his Christmas specials as there’s no swearing in them 🙂

  12. Gordon Ramsay is a talented cook, no doubt about it but I have had enough of his bullying tactics. I’ve watched the BBC’s Master Chef and loved it. Our version is nothing more than an exercise in belittling and berating the contestants. I’ve stopped watching it.
    Ham hocks were frequent “guests” at our table, though usually served in soups or some form of a boiled dinner. As for the hog’s head, we used it to make head cheese and I had the lucky job of carrying the darn thing around the farmer’s market, on my shoulder, while my Grandpa finished shopping. 🙂

    1. John – was filing at the end of day and found yours! I LOVE our Masterchef [one series just coming to the end next week] and I have been told by blogfriends in Holland and Germany that they prefer our series two years late to their current local [bossy] ones. Probably similar to BBC: had I time, I would seek it out. Ours has always been on Channel 10 [called TenPlay these days] – if you ever have five minutes see whether you can get one of the replays and how that compares with the BBC. [Oh, for GR – latest series naturally scripted, but TRULY fun to watch!! No bullying whatsoever!! And I AM cooking his stuff: lot of fusion . . .]

      1. OK: just Googled ‘Masterchef Australia’ and clicked on ‘episodes’ – it sure works here!!! The Masterclasses once a week were tremendous: Marco Pierre White and a pretty sensible Heston Blumenthal amongst others . . . .

  13. This looks really great. I felt the same way about him, but oddly, he’s actually an amazing cook. His recipes are always just so fing good.

    1. I seem to have stirred up quite a hornet’s nest with this post – I just love that everyone has an opinion and we are all free and able to voice them! Long live free speech J

  14. My husband had a dish like this for lunch when we visited Munich. I tried a bite and it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

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