A traditional, farmhouse supper. A perfect, comforting treat on a cold evening. Can be made in advance and frozen if required.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 leeks, sliced thickly
3 carrots, sliced thickly
Handful of fresh herbs – fresh thyme, chopped parsley etc
4 tbsp plain flour
500ml/1pt dry cider
8 tbsp crème fraiche
1kg/2.5lb potatoes such as Maris Piper, chopped
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
For the ham hock
1.2kg/2.5lb ham hock
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
Bunch of fresh parsley
1 tbsp black peppercorns
For the ham hock, place into a large casserole dish and add the rest of the ham hock ingredients. Cover with cold water and simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Remove from the dish and allow to cool. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve and reserve for later, discarding the contents of the sieve. Remove the skin from the hock and roughly chop the meat.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep saucepan, add the onions, carrots, leeks and thyme and season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook until lightly softened and golden brown. Add the flour to the pan and stir well.
Turn up the heat, add the cider and 300ml/1/2pt of the ham hock cooking liquid. Add the ham and bring to the boil. Add half the crème fraiche and simmer on a gentle heat and season again to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water for 10-165 minutes until tender. Drain and add the rest of the crème fraiche, mustard, 50g/1.5oz of butter and milk. Season to taste and mash until smooth and lump-free.
Transfer the pie filling to a large casserole dish. Spread the mash evenly over the top, using the back of a fork to level it out. Dot with the remaining butter.
If freezing you can cover with baking paper at this stage and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6 and bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and golden.
NOTE – If you don’t have time to go through the ham hock process, use the equivalent weight of cooked, boneless gammon cooked in a little olive oil until golden. If using this method using 300ml/0.5pt of chicken stock instead of cooking juices when required to do so in the recipe.
Serve with seasonal vegetables.