Smoked Ham Hock, Farro, Ham Hock Consommé, Pickled Squash, and Bitter Greens

Adapted by StarChefs.com
March 2012
Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Ham Hock Brine
½ gallon water
2 cups kosher salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons juniper berries
2 tablespoons allspice berries
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
5 star anise
10 bay leaves
8 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons curing salt
½ gallon ice
4 smoked ham hocks
Pickled Squash
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into small batons
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
4 cups sugar
1 quart water
1 quart apple cider vinegar
Consommé
2 quarts pork stock
1 cup diced onion
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced carrot
2 egg whites
6 ounces ground pork
3 ounces bacon, diced
Farro
kosher salt
1 cup slow-roasted farro
To Assemble and Serve
1 teaspoon butter
arugula
salt
freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

For the Smoked Ham Hocks:
In a large pot, combine the water, salt, sugar, juniper, allspice, fennel, coriander, star anise, bay leaves, garlic, and curing salt. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and add the ice to the brine. Once cool, pour the brine over the ham hocks. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 days.

Remove the ham hocks from the brine and pat dry with a towel. Put them on a rack and dry overnight. Preheat a smoker to 250°F. Smoke the ham hocks for 4 hours, until the meat easily pulls away from the bone.

For the Pickled Squash:
Put the squash and shallots in a mixing bowl and set aside. Combine the sugar, water, and vinegar in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Pour the brine over the squash and shallots and refrigerate overnight.

For the Consommé:
Pour the stock into a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, egg whites, egg shells, ground pork, and diced bacon to a food processor and blend to combine. Stir the mixture into the stock and gently bring to a simmer. Do not let it boil. As the stock simmers, you should be able to see the broth clarify. Make a small hole in the center of the raft, so the broth can flow over the top. Once the mixture is cooked, gently ladle the broth through a cheese cloth-lined chinois.

For the Farro:
In a medium pot, bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the farro and simmer gently, stirring occasionally. Cook for 45 minutes, until the faro is tender but still a little chewy. Drain and reserve.

To Assemble and Serve:
Heat water in a saucepot, and simmer the Smoked Ham Hocks until they are heated through. In a small saucepan, warm the Farro with the butter and season with salt and pepper. In a small mixing bowl, combine the squash and arugula and season with salt and pepper. Ladle 2 ounces of hot Consommé into individual bowls. Plate the Farro in the center of each bowl and top with a Smoked Ham Hock. Garnish the plates with Pickled Squash and arugula.