Ham Hock and Cheddar Croquettes with honey mustard dip. Ummm yes, I’ll have 15 please.
Crispy, gooey, cheesy, salty, moreish.
Yes all good words to describe these ham hock croquettes and things that I like to eat in general.
Have you had ham hock before?
I first had it a few years ago when I spotted it at the deli counter looking like a delicious cross between pulled pork and baked ham. I cooked it into a pie (something like this chicken and ham pie if I remember correctly) and I was sold. It’s salty and flaky, and those extra large chunks just can’t help finding their way into my mouth whilst I’m cooking.It’s so good that I’ve LOADED these croquettes with it. If you check out other croquette recipes you’ll see their measly ham rations. I want every mouthful loaded with ham please!
So what is ham hock?
It’s actually the meat in the ankle area of the pig (and yes, I did just google ‘Do pigs have ankles?’, looking back it was a pretty stupid question and I’m not proud) and although it hasn’t got a lot of fat, it has got lots of collagen from the connective tissue that melts down during slow cooking to give a distinctively soft and tender meat.
Hopefully that hasn’t grossed you out!
These croquettes are baked in the oven. Only for 10 minutes or so until the filling just starts to seep out. That’s when you know they’re gooey and perfect inside.You’d think 10 minutes wouldn’t be long enough to get this golden crunch on the outside, but I’m going to let you in on two little secrets:
- Mix the panko breadcrumbs with a little oil before rolling the croquettes in them. This ensures every little breadcrumb has a tiny amount of oil, which will help the croquettes to brown evenly and ensures crispness even after only 10 minutes. Much better than a drizzle of oil before putting it in the oven.
- Add some paprika to the panko breadcrumbs – this gives a nice rich colour to the coating, so you don’t have to leave them in the oven until the point that all of the filling has leaked out and you’re basically left with a ham and cheese bake (which doesn’t sound that bad, but still!).
Whip up a quick honey and mustard dip and you’ve got a treat worthy of any party/lunch/game day/midnight snack!
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
- 120g plain (all purpose) flour
- 200ml (3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) milk
- 150g (1½ cups) mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 200g (about 1 cup) shredded ham hock
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 100g (2 cups) panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- Chopped chives for garnish
- Honey Mustard Mayo:
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 10 chopped chives
- Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the onion and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the onion softens. Add half the flour and stir using wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Very gradually, pour in the milk whilst stirring with a whisk, until all of the milk is incorporated with no lumps. It should be a thick, paste-like mixture.
- Stir in the cheddar and ham hock. Turn off the heat.
- Spoon the mixture into a bowl, and cover with cling film. Place in the fridge to firm up and chill for at least 90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200c/400f and line a baking tray with parchment.
- Add the eggs to a wide bowl and whisk lightly. Add the remaining flour along with the salt and pepper to another bowl. Mix together. Add the panko breadcrumbs to a third bowl. Stir in the paprika, then drizzle over the oil. Mix together using a fork until all of the breadcrumbs are lightly coated in oil.
- Take the ham mixture out of the fridge. Scoop out a heaped tbsp and place in your hand. Roll into the shape of a small thick sausage. Roll in the flour, then the egg (make sure it's covered in egg), then finally roll in the panko breadcrumbs. Place on the tray and repeat with the rest of the mixture. You should get 16-18 croquettes.
- Place in the oven to cook for 8-11 minutes - until the coating is lightly golden, and the filling is just starting to ooze out of a few of the croquettes. Take out of the oven and leave to cool and firm up for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Whilst the croquettes are cooling, whisk together the honey mustard mayo ingredients and pour into a small dish.
- Place the croquettes on a serving plate and scatter with chopped chives. Serve with the honey mustard mayo.