Country ham help!
I've looked through this board, but still have some questions....help me out, hounds! I brought back three things from Bigham's Country Meats in Tennessee...center cut thinly sliced country ham, country bacon, and country ham hock. Here are my questions:
Center cut country ham: Does this need any pre-treatment like a whole country ham does? Do I just slap it into a pan and let it sizzle? For ham biscuits, does anyone have a biscuit recipe? Does anything else go on the biscuit besides the ham? AND...a menu for country ham and red eyed gravy (sides? breakfast or dinner?) would be greatly appreciated.
Country bacon: This looks like salt pork, fatback, whatever you want to call it...right?
Country ham hock: This is perplexing. What I know as a ham hock is a smoked joint with skin, fat, meat and bone. What I have is a slice, a little over 1/2" thick, no skin or bone. I'm thinking about dicing it up and cooking greens, or adding some cubes to cook with beans....anything else?
Thanks a million - I can't wait to tear into it all!
I just put the center cut ham in a skillet with a little water to start (like you would a little oil to fry something), cover for a few minutes at the beginning and let it brown a little on both sides. You should be able to make a bit of gravy from the drippings left afterwards. Or remove the slice, add a little water to the pan and put your cleaned greens in the drippings, cover and wilt. Add a side of mashed potatoes or maybe a nice custardy baked corn and you've got dinner!
If the bacon is thick sliced I like to put it on a rack over a pan in the oven and roast it crispy. Or dice it, fry it a little and then add greens. It also makes a kick-ass warm bacon salad dressing!
I like to use the ham hocks to make bean soup. Simmer the hock with celery, onion, carrot, parsley, and pepper to make a rich stock. Drain, reserve the hock, chill the stock and defat. In a soup pot sweat onion, carrot, celery, parsley and a little savory, thyme or sage (your choice). Add the stock and some beans. I use canned and my current favorite are canellini beans. Simmer low and slow for awhile and taste for seasonings. I add a good bit of fresh ground black pepper, usually need no or very little salt and maybe a bit more of one of the herbs. Pick the meat off the hock and add it. Right before serving I add a few drops (only a few!) of cider vinegar on top of the soup in each serving bowl or put a cruet of vinegar on the table for diners to add their own if desired. It adds a bright note to the soup.
Biscuits are not my forte but there are several threads discussing the creation of what sounds like very good biscuits on Chowhound. You might find the same for red eye gravy.
Oh THANK you! Adding a little water makes sense given the usual rinsing or par-boiling of the whole ham. Funny, but that weird hock is more like a thick slice than a knob...I actually diced some up and added water and cooked some chard...I am now thoroughly hooked on country ham and greens. Your bean recipe sounds so good, and I think I will use the country bacon for a spinach salad - haven't done that in forever! THANKS again!