Believe it or not, jerk is so Christmassy – the spices are pretty much the same ones you use in mulled wines, Christmas puddings and mince pies.
What I love about this recipe is that you can have these right away, then rough up the leftovers and press them into a terrine, crisp them up in a pan and toss them through a warm salad, or stuff them into one of the world’s best sandwiches with a limey mayonnaise and maybe a thin slice of Swiss cheese. I’m hungry just writing this!
Soak the ham hocks in a large bowl of water overnight to draw out the salt, then drain just before you want to cook them. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
For the jerk seasoning, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pop some rubber gloves on, then rub the seasoning all over the ham hocks, drizzle them with oil, then place in a medium-sized roasting tray (roughly 25 x 30cm) and cover with tin foil. Cook in the oven for around 3½ hours, or until the meat is deliciously tender and falling off the bone. Turn the hocks 2 or 3 times during cooking to baste and really get all those beautiful flavours into the meat.
Use your hands or a couple of forks to shred the ham off the bone, discarding the bones and any wobbly bits of fat. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and a good squeeze of clementine juice and this will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week – such a great trick to have up your sleeve.
Here are a couple of great ways to use up your jerky ham:
Reheat the jerky ham in a frying pan until crispy, sticky and golden. Knock up a nice little winter salad to go with it using chopped watercress, romaine and quartered radishes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar or clementine juice, then top with the crispy pork. Cut a pomegranate in half, bash the seeds out with the back of a spoon and sprinkle over the salad. Delicious.
Get yourself some nice wedges of crusty bread, some beautiful sliced tomatoes, a dollop of creamy mayo and some crisp lettuce. Sandwich it all together with a pinch of warmed up crispy ham and serve with pickles, gherkins and even a few crisps on the side – this is a BLT like you’ve never seen before.