Slow-roasted pork hocks with roasted carrots & fennel & lentils

by Ray McVinnie | Cuisine issue #118
Serves: 4-6Pork hocks may take several hours to cook in the oven but they are cheap and require little attention. Every time I taste lentils I marvel at how earthily delicious and satisfying they are.

This is a meal of rather modest ingredients, which is like a modern interpretation of a traditional roast.
This recipe is for a gluten-free main.

For the pork
3 pork hocks (around 1kg each), skin scored in parallel lines about 1cm apart down to the flesh
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 cloves garlic, chopped
flaky sea salt
6 small carrots, peeled and split lengthwise
3 fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed off, coarse outer leaves removed and bulbs halved
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons cornflour mixed with 4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Moscatel or white wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the hocks into a large, deep roasting pan. Add the oil and sprinkle the fennel seeds, garlic and salt over them. Cover, place in the oven and cook for 2 hours.

Uncover. Place the carrots and fennel around the pork and cook uncovered 1 further hour until the meat is falling off the bones, the skin is crisp and the vegetables tender and browned.

Remove from the oven and arrange everything on a serving platter.

Discard the fat from the pan. Add the stock and bring to the boil, while scraping the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the cornflour mixture, stirring until lightly thickened. Add the vinegar, mix well, taste and season.

Carve the meat from the pork hocks and serve on the lentils and rocket (recipe follows) with the carrots, fennel and gravy around it.

For the lentils
1@1/2 cups Puy lentils (or brown or green lentils if Puy are not available)
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 stick celery
1 small carrot
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 handfuls rocket leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the lentils, onion, celery and carrot into a large saucepan, cover well with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain well and discard the vegetables. Add the oil and rocket to the lentils, season with salt and pepper and mix well. The rocket will wilt. Cover and keep warm.

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