Enter your email for
monthly recipes, stories,
reviews & food notes.

Ham hock with parsley sauce and cabbage

Serves 6

One of my mum’s dishes this shows how worthwhile it is to try less-common cuts.
It’s a wonderful supper and provides great leftovers for lots of dishes.


For the ham

  • 2 x 1.2kg (2lb 12oz) ham hocks
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Handful of parsley stalks, bruised

For the parsley sauce

  • 600ml (1 pint) full-fat milk
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, stalks separated and leaves finely chopped
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g (1 ¾oz) butter
  • 50g (1 ¾oz) plain flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 tbsp double cream
  • Really generous squeeze of lemon juice
  • Dollop of Dijon mustard (optional)

For the cabbage

  • 675g (1 ½lb) Savoy cabbage
  • 35g (1 ¼oz) butter


  1. Soak the hocks for 24 hours, changing the water twice.
  2. Put the hocks in a large pan and cover with water. Add the other ingredients and bring to the boil. Skim and cook gently until the meat is coming from the bone. It usually takes 2–3 hours. (You can also cook this in advance and gently reheat in the stock.)
  3. To make the sauce, heat the milk with the onion, parsley stalks, peppercorns and bay. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain.
  4. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and add the flour. Stir over low heat for a minute. Slowly add the infused milk, stirring to incorporate before you add more. Return to the heat. Bring to the boil, stirring, then simmer for 4 minutes. Season, add the cream, finely chopped parsley leaves and lemon juice. Taste; you may want mustard, more lemon juice or extra seasoning. Cover to keep warm.
  5. Core and shred the cabbage. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, add the cabbage, season and add 2 tbsp water. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 4 minutes, shaking. Stir, so the butter coats the cabbage. Cover, but don’t let it sit for too long.
  6. Remove and discard the fat from the hocks and break the meat into large pieces. Serve the ham with the parsley sauce, and the cabbage. It’s also great served with boiled potatoes.

« back to recipes