My Pork Hock Stew Adventure!

http://greenlitebites.com/2013/11/05/my-pork-hock-stew-adventure/
Finished Pork Hock Stew

I did it!

I followed a recipe!

This may be a first. I rarely stick to a recipe as posted, if I even read them at all. Normally when I cook  I cook by instinct after doing some visual research on Google Images, but this weekend I was presented with something so unknown to me I had no instinct.

Am I the only one who didn’t know what a pork hock was? I really had no clue and there were 4 in this week’s CSA share.

After a little digging online (Thank you Wikipedia!) I came to learn they are also called ham hocks or pork knuckle and they are basically a section of the pig’s leg.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 10.02.16 AM

The cut has the bone in and it’s known for being full of tendons and a bit fatty but the meat underneath is very flavorful and tender.

After looking at a few recipes, I decided to try this one from NourishPaleoFoods.com I don’t follow the paleo diet but love getting ideas from paleo recipes because they are filled with things I want to be eating. Well, most of them. Some get a little crazy with that coconut flour stuff.

My Pork Hock Stew Adventure! Anyway, I decided to follow the recipe as is because I had no idea what I was doing.

I did have to make 2 small changes, you’ll see. (I guess I really didn’t follow a recipe as is after all. lol)

Here’s what I did …

  • 1/2 of a large green cabbage
  • 1 super large carrot, cut in large chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can of chicken broth (the original recipe called for 2 cups beef broth)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pork hocks, about 2 lbs total (The recipe called for a 1.5 lb pork hock)

I had some help prepping and someone tried raw cabbage!

Toddler trying cabbage

Put all ingredients except for the pork hock in a slow cooker. Stir them up a bit.

Pork Hock Stew step 1

I didn’t think there would be enough room, but I nestled the 2 pork hocks in the middle of the veggies.

Pork Hock Stew Step 2

The original recipe said to cook for 8 hours over low heat, until meat falls of the bone, but the time wasn’t working for me so I did high for 4 to 5 hour.

It worked! Meat was falling off the bone.

Pork Hick Meat falling off bone.

I removed the bones and stirred it all up.

Finished Pork Hock Stew

The smell was amazing and the meat was unbelievably tender.

Curious what the boys thought?

Well, the Husband totally surprised me and loved it! We even talked about adding in a few potatoes next time.

The 8-year-old was NOT impressed. He enjoyed the meat and a carrot but wasn’t having the cabbage.

The 2-year-old had no idea what was going on and happily ate the pork but I couldn’t get him to eat the carrot or cabbage.

Me? I LOVED it! The cabbage was soft yet meaty and absorbed all the wonderful flavor of the pork. The carrots were cut big enough so they cooked but were still slightly firm and the meat was unlike anything I have ever tasted.

I don’t feel comfortable sharing nutritional info on this one because I really don’t know how to calculate it. I ate my bowl of real food guilt free and I have one more serving to enjoy for lunch.  :)

Any and all pork hock thoughts welcome. I have 2 more in the freezer and I’m not sure what I’ll do with those next! Split pea soup?

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Posted in: Crockpot Ideas, Dinner Ideas, Food Photos, Soup/Stew Ideas
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9 Comments and 1 Replies

  1. Karen

    I always fix red beans and rice when I have pork hocks. I don’t eat rice anymore, but I would still fix it and serve it to my family with rice — they LOVE red beans and rice. This recipe sounds good so I may have to give it a try! Red beans and rice with cornbread, that may have to be my guilty pleasure one cold winter evening!!!

  2. Martha

    I use ham hocks in my navy bean soup and split pea soup. Both delicious and great for a winter day. Haven’t made either in a slow cooker, but will try that this year.

    Your recipe sounds delicious.

  3. Shaina

    we used ours (2) to make split pea soup in the crock pot. It was really easy and very good – a blast from the past, I hadn’t eaten split pea soup in years! After cooking, I pulled the meat off the bones and kept it separate from the soup, adding to our bowls of soup individually. The kids liked the pork and soup, but separately not mixed together!

  4. Linda

    Sounds good, but what isthe fat grams in pork hocks, i always thought it was high and have stayed away from buying them

    1. roni

      It is pretty high in comparison to leaner cuts like tenderloin and not something I’d eat daily. Plus, I don’t fear dietary fat the way I used to. In my opinion eating a fatty cut of meat every once in awhile with veggies like cabbage and carrots is still way better than ordering a pizza or hitting a drive thru for dinner. It’s an inexpensive, family dinner that, teaches my kids that home cooked meals are better than eating something just for convenience sake.

      Here’s the NI from a site called Fat Secret… link to fatsecret.com

      All just my opinion of course. Sorry to dump my food philosophy on you. :)

  5. Christy

    I use ham hocks for pea soup, lentil soup and bean soup, and usually make in the crock pot. I can’t help but think of it as fall and winter comfort food, especially all day in the crockpot with that aroma. I also make Hoppin’ John with ham hocks, which is a dish with black eye peas and rice. Ham hocks also work well with dark, leafy greens.

    I really like your idea, too, which reminds me of corned beef and cabbage – but healthier. I like corned beef, but it’s not the healthiest meat with all the salt, fat and nitrates. I think the addition of potatoes would be perfect.

  6. Sunshells

    Slow cooked this recipe as listed with a 1.5 lb pork hock all day today. Set slow cooker for 10 hrs but 8 would have been enough. Removed hock and Bay leaves, picked out the meat, discarded skin and bones and stirred the meat back in with the cabbage and carrot. Served it in rim soup bowls with a soft bun. Both my husband and myself really enjoyed it and found it very filling. Next time I have a pork hock I will do this again.

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