Kochen Sie Deutsch? Ham hocks and Spaetzle.

I have been seeing a lot of ham hocks around the blogosphere lately.Its funny because ham hocks are widely used in the black culture in soul food. I have seen first hand a love hate relationship with this cut of swine. Its been widely substituted by smoked turkey to season greens and such.And most of us wouldn’t be caught dead eating it in polite company . But its cheap and tasty and I’m happy to see a foodie resurgence. In Germany I loved the Eisbein which is the lower more meatier part of the ham hock. A typical ham hock has to much bone, fat, gristle , and skin, to eat alone. But the chunks of meat you get are out of this world. The Eisbein I had in Germany was meat fall of the bone succulent with crispy skin. I tried to recreate this with the lowlier ham hocks. I didn’t get a lot of meat, but I got. The rest went in the trash bin. But it was enough to enhance my homemade spaetzle. I didn’t have a fancy Spaetzle maker, but used a colander with large holes. This dish is for my Certain Someone. You know how some people talk dirty when their loved one is away? Me I cook this German style meal I know he would love to entice him to finish his business abroad and come home quick.

The ham hocks were cooked in a pressure cooker with about 3 cups of water, peppercorns, and 3 cloves of garlic for 45 minutes at a pressure of 15 lbs. I have had a pressure cooker for years and am just starting to discover the joys of it. I cooled it down quickly to release the pressure with the cold water method( running water over the pot and waiting till it cools down enough to release safely). I then roasted them on high to get the skin crispy. The skin is gelatinous but with patience you will get some crispy parts.

Certain Someone would be so proud of me. I made Spaetzle from a cookbook written in German! Maggi Kochstudio. Easy and straightforward. I converted the weights and measures.

Spatzletig for 2

1 3/4 cups flour ( 250 grams)

3 eggs beaten

2/3 cup water ( 1/8 liter)



Water for boiling( approx 2 liters)

Boil your water in a pot.In a bowl place your flour. Add beaten egg,water, salt, and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly ( I used a whisk). Take a large holed colander and place a little mixture in at at time. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon run the mixture back and forth across the hole until it drops in the boiling water. The spaetzle dumplings will rise to the top of the water when done. Remove with a slotted spoon. Season to taste.

I seasoned and tossed mine with a leek sauteed in butter and the garlic from the pressure cooker.Salt , fresh ground pepper and a grating of Parmesan cheese.

Next time when Certain Someone comes home I will got to the butcher and get the Eisbein cut to ensure we have more meat. But this was a tasty trial run.