Ham Hock Risotto with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

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Recipe for Ham Hock Risotto with Caramelized Pearl Onions & Hen of the Woods Mushrooms. This savory risotto is a specialty of Victor Scargle, executive chef of COPIA.


  • 2 ham hocks
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 carrot cut into 1" thick pieces
  • 1 yellow onion cut 1" thick slices
  • 2 stalks celery cut 1" thick pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 gallon chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 1/4 yellow onion diced small
  • 3 cups chicken stock, simmering
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 bunch thyme
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 18 white pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 pound Hen of the Woods mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup grated Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 bunch mustard greens, julienned


  1. For the ham hocks: Place oil in large sauté or braising pan and put on high heat. Place ham hocks carefully in oil and brown all sides. Place in stock pot or braising pan if available.
  2. Remove excess fat from sauté pan and add vegetables. brown. Add tomato paste and cook for five minutes. Add white wine and scrape pan to get food off the pan and add wine and vegetables to ham hocks. Cover with chicken stock, add aromatics and cover. Place in oven at 325°F for approximately forty-five minutes to one hour. Cook until meat falls apart. Shred while warm, remove fat. Strain liquid and reserve for heating ham hock or cooking risotto.
  3. For risotto: Place butter and onion in large sauté pan on medium heat. Sweat onion and butter for five minutes and add rice. Toast for five minutes adding a little kosher salt throughout the cooking process to make sure that salt flavor is cooked into rice. Add white wine, bay leaf and thyme while stirring constantly. Next add hot chicken stock in stages 2 ounces at a time stirring it in and cooking it out until the rice is al dente.
  4. If you will not be serving rice right away you can place it on a sheet tray with parchment paper. Be sure not to overcook rice, and allow for carry over cooking.
  5. For caramelized onions and mushrooms: Place onions in water to cook. Once onions become tender, remove excess water add sugar and allow onions to caramelize. Move pan to make sure onions color evenly. If one area of pan becomes too dark add a little water to deglaze. Allow onions to get dark caramelization and finish with water.
  6. For mushrooms, trim to bite size and sauté in oil at smoking point. Be sure to add a little extra oil so the mushrooms do not dry out. Season with salt and white pepper.
  7. To plate the risotto: Heat rice and finish cooking in some of the ham hock braising liquid. While heating add ham hock. Once rice is close to desired consistency add 1 tablespoon of creme fraiche, 1 tablespoon of whole butter and 1/2 tablespoon of chopped thyme and parsley. Finish with julienne of mustard greens.
  8. Heat onions and mushrooms in separate pan. Place creamy risotto in center of bowl and top with mushrooms and onions
  9. Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 697 Calories; 32g Fat (43.1% calories from fat); 17g Protein; 79g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 79mg Cholesterol; 4832mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain (Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 4 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 5 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.