Sitting watching an episode of Come Dine With Me, with my dad one afternoon, one of the contestants cooked a ham shank, much to my dad Peter's pleasure. He was drooling saying how he hadn't had one for years and how his mam used to cook them when he was little. As I cook his tea for him I decided I would get one and see what I could do with it.
Sourcing one wasn't hard, I went to the butchers and they ordered me one in. I found this strange as I assumed butchers hacked bits of meat off animals out the back. I don't suppose that's how it happens, now that supermarkets have a variety of cuts of meat to choose from. Costing only £2.65 my purse was pleased.
After I threw a load of vegetables and lentils in with the shank my dad was happy too. It fed 6 on its own and could easily have been stretched out further with some dumplings, crusty bread to mop up the juices or a pile of creamy mash. So, here's my recipe named after my lovely dad.
Handful of fresh parsley
100g yellow split peas
2 bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
Rinse the shank under cold water and place in a pan big enough to cover with cold water.
Chop the tops and tails off the parsnips, slice the onion roughly and put in the pan.
Cut two of the carrots up, the celery stalk and the greens of the leeks and add these too.
Throw the peppercorns and the bay leaves in with the vegetables and ham.
I even added the swede peelings.
Bring it to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for 2 and a half to 3 hours after which time the ham should come away easily from the bone.
Lift the ham out carefully and place on a chopping board.
Drain the stock into a bowl or another pan and leave to cool.
Throw away the vegetables that are left from the stock.
Cube the swede, roughly chop the carrots and parsnips into chunks and slice the leeks.
Add to the large pan with some oil and on a medium heat stir the vegetables until they start to get soft.
When you have removed as much of the fat as you can from the stock, add the liquid a ladle full at a time to the vegetables.
Add the lentils and peas too and keep stirring.
Pour on enough liquid to cover everything, leave it and remove the fat from the shank and shred the meat.
When the meat is prepared, add it to the pan and let it bubble away nicely for about an hour.