Eisbein with whisky-and-maple “cafe au lait” and barley, pea and asparagus risotto

Eisbein with whisky-and-maple

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  • 4
  • Easy
  • 20 minutes
  • 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • De Grendel Winifred White Blend 2010


  • 2 ham hocks, preferably eisbein
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • ½ bulb garlic
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sprig thyme
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 5 shots Scotch whisky
  • Parsley, chopped, to garnish
  • Sage leaves, deep-fried, to garnish
  • For the whisky-and-maple “café au lait”:
  • 1 onion, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 shots whisky
  • 1 ½ cups ham hock cooking liquor
  • 1 ½ cups double cream
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T wholegrain mustard
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • For the risotto:
  • 100 g pearl barley
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 5 g fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 T butter
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup ham hock cooking liquor
  • 15 g Parmesan, grated

Cooking Instructions

To prepare the eisbain, place the ham hocks, carrot, onion, garlic, celery, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, whisky and enough cold water to just cover the hocks in a large pot.
Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat falls easily off the bone.

Cool, then remove the hocks and refrigerate both the hocks and the cooking liquor (the latter, for use in the "café au lait" and risotto).

When the hocks have hardened slightly, preheat the oven to 180°C, then cut away the meat and arrange on a greased baking tray. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes.

Arrange the eisbein on each plate and drizzle with the "café au lait". Add spoonfuls of the risotto and scatter with chopped parsley and deep-fried sage.

To make the whisky-and-maple "café au lait", gently fry the onion, garlic and thyme in the butter, then turn up the heat and flambé the whisky before adding the ham liquor. Cook over a high heat until reduced by three quarters.
Add the cream and maple syrup and simmer until it has thickened slightly. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and add the mustard. Season with salt.

To make the risotto, boil the pearl barley in water for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve. Fry the onion, garlic and thyme in 2 T butter until transparent but not coloured.
Add the blanched barley and white wine and boil for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Add the ham liquor to just cover the barley mix and simmer gently to reduce the liquid.
Repeat, adding a little liquor at a time until the barley is soft, but still with a nice bite to it. Add the Parmesan and the remaining butter and stir until creamy.

TASTE’s take:
I prefer to use eisbein (pickled ham hock) for this recipe as I find it adds an extra kick of robust flavour.

Luke Dale-Roberts Recipe by: Luke Dale-Roberts
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Considered a foodie visionary by most, Luke Dale-Roberts is the mastermind behind SA's number one restaurant, The Test Kitchen, as well as The Pot Luck Club.

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