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Ham Hock Barley Risotto

Make your own ham hock stock to create this creamy and cheesy barley risotto. 



Ham Hock Stock

  • 2-2.5 lb (0.9-1.2 kg) smoked pork hock
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 cups (1 L) fresh water


  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups ham hock stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Reserved meat from ham hock stock, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Ham Hock Stock

  1. Add smoked ham hockquartered onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and a sprig of fresh thyme to 
    a large pot. Add enough fresh water to cover the ingredients. Cover with a lid and cook over 
    medium-low heat for 2 hours.    
  2. Remove from heat, and transfer the ham hock to a cutting board. Reserve stock, straining
    the liquid from simmered ingredients. And set stock aside.
  3. Remove meat from the hock and shred. Reserve. 


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add finely diced onion and minced garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Add pearl barley and stir frequently until toasted. Add dry white wine and simmer until partially evaporated. Sprinkle it with salt. Add reserved Ham Hock Stock, gradually, about 1 cup (250 ml) at a time, stirring gently and constantly until the barley has cooked through and is creamy. Add butter, heavy cream, and grated Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted and incorporated.
  2. Squeeze juice from half a lemon. Tip in fresh or frozen peas, reserved meat from ham hock, and fresh chopped parsley, stirring to incorporate. 
  3. Transfer to serving dishes and top with extra grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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