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Old 07-22-2008, 10:14 AM   #1
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A budding French chef?

I'm a Northern male who doesn't doesn't know how to cook so don't ask what I was trying to do. Roughly, I became enamored with the idea of cooking "Hoppin' John." I bought two fresh ham hocks and sorta following directions, placed one .75 lb. hock in approximately a qt. of water and after bringing the water to a boil, reduced the heat to barely a simmer. Five hours later, I remembered I was supposed to be cooking. When I raised the lid, everything looked fine. Wishing to skim the fat, I refrigerated the liquid after removing the hock.

Later when I removed the liquid, I was pleased to see the fat had solidified and was easy to skim. What was left, staggered me. It was light brown and thicker than Jello. I was stumped as to what it was, or what to do with it. Have I invented a new food?

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Old 07-22-2008, 10:21 AM   #2
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The cooking extracted the gelatin in the bone as the flavor of the hock wa extracted into the water.

What you have is a tasty ham stock. The gelatin will melt when heated.

Continue with your hoppin' John recipe.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mignon View Post
Have I invented a new food?
Nope, but you have discovered something wonderful. When people talk about stock this is what they are talking about. When cold it will be like jello, but when heated will turn into liquid again.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:56 AM   #4
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While your information is pleasing, I'm disappointed I wont go down in history books as an innovative chef. I'm still stunned by how powerful the single foot of a pig is. What is the lesson to be learned here, did I simmer too long? Can I save any of this savory gelatin to flavor something else? I'm going to take your advice and continue with the black-eyed peas.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:58 AM   #5
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Time to make hoppin john!!!!

You probably simmered only a wee bit too long but as long as you had liquid left and the pan didn't burn up you're ok. It takes a bit to get that little bit of meat nice and tender. Please tell me you removed that from the hock and didn't throw it away! That will flavor your Hoppin' John too!

If you want to freeze the geletin you can use it as part of your stock for a split pea soup, or a minestrone. I use smoked ham hocks in my minestrone all the time.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:00 AM   #6
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There's still time to make the history books.

You did not simmer too long. This is supposed to happen. Make the recipe. The stock will provide greast flavor and a better mouth feel from the gelatin.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:14 AM   #7
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Yes, I certainly did keep that hock, and I did extract the small amount of meat like a brain surgeon. I must have the instincts of a great cook. At the rate I'm progressing, I may open a southern cuisine retaurant as owner chef. Would you believe that aside from making toast, I was useless in the kitchen?
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:18 AM   #8
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Maybe you should start out cooking for family and friends before you go for the restaurant.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:43 AM   #9
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Andy,

Are you kidding me or what, did you think I was serious with that restaurant crack? I'm just having funning around — I was so delighted that I could boil water successfully that my imagination went wild. Trust me, my family and friends wouldn't be caught dead eating anything I cooked, and if I cooked for paying customers, I'd be arrested.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:44 AM   #10
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You can't hear that dry sense of humor in Andy's post?

It sounds like, to me anyway, you are doing better than you think. Did you make the hoppin john?
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