Wild rice and and basmati salad with smoked ham

Perfect for an outdoor brunch or picnic

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 smoked ham hocks, about 800g/1lb 8oz each, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 3 chunks
  • 1 stick celery, trimmed and cut into 3 pieces
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • Handful of thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • tsp black peppercorns

For the salad

  • 150g/5oz mixed basmati and wild rice
  • 150g/5oz French beans, trimmed and halved
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley, torn
  • Squeeze of lemon juice to taste
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put the ham hocks into a large pan with the onion, carrot, celery, herbs and peppercorns. Cover the meat with cold water, bring to the boil then skim off any scum. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours until the hocks are very tender – the meat should slide easily from the bone.

Leave them to cool slightly in the stock then lift onto a plate. While still warm, peel off the skin and remove the fat. Break the meat into flakes and place in a salad bowl.

Measure 1ltr/1/2 pt of the ham poaching stock. (Save the rest to make a soup.) Pour into a medium saucepan and add the rice. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until the rice is tender. Blanch the beans. Add them to the pan of boiling salted water and cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Refresh under cold water. Drain thoroughly.

When ready, drain the rice in a colander set over another pan.

Place the pan lid over the colander to let the rice dry out a little, then tip into the bowl with the ham. Add the beans, parsley, lemon juice, oil and a generous grinding of black pepper. Toss well and serve warm.

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