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Crisp ham and cheese balls with mustard crème fraîche

"These look simple, but the result is luxurious and satisfying," says Fassnidge. "You can prepare these ahead and fry them when you're ready." This recipe makes 40.

You'll need

1 onion, thickly sliced 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped 1 tbsp thyme leaves 2 rosemary sprigs 2 tbsp olive oil 500 ml (2 cups) milk 160 gm butter, coarsely chopped 560 gm plain flour 110 gm aged English Cheddar, coarsely grated 3 tsp seeded mustard 3 tsp hot English mustard 5 eggs, whisked, for eggwash 280 gm (4 cups) soft fine white breadcrumbs   Poached ham hocks 2 ham hocks (650gm each) 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped 1 carrot, coarsely copped 1 onion, coarsely copped 2 thyme sprigs 1 fresh bay leaf ½ tsp black peppercorns   Mustard crème fraîche 250 gm crème fraîche 30 gm wholegrain mustard 20 gm Dijon mustard 10 gm hot English mustard Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon


  • 01
  • For poached ham hocks, combine hocks in a large saucepan with vegetables, herbs and peppercorns, and cover with 3 litres of water (hock should be completely submerged). Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until bones easily pull out and meat falls off (2½ hours). Cool hocks in stock, then remove meat, coarsely chop and reserve (you should have 375gm meat). Reserve 500ml ham stock (strained).
  • 02
  • Combine onion, garlic and herbs in a saucepan with olive oil and stir occasionally over medium heat until tender (5-6 minutes). Add reserved stock and milk, and bring to the boil, then simmer over medium heat for flavours to infuse (2 minutes), strain into a bowl (discard solids) and cool (10 minutes).
  • 03
  • Melt butter in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, then add 160gm flour and stir continuously until sand-coloured (blond roux) with a sandy texture (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat. Gradually add reserved milk mixture, whisking continuously until smooth and incorporated. Return to medium heat and stir continuously until mixture bubbles (3-4 minutes). Add hock meat and grated Cheddar, and cook until cheese melts (3 minutes). Stir in mustards and season to taste, then pour into a 3-litre plastic container and refrigerate until set and firm enough to cut (2-3 hours). Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until required.
  • 04
  • Place remaining flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Working with a cheese ball at a time, first dust with flour and tap off excess. Dip floured ball into egg and then breadcrumbs, then repeat egg and crumb stage so the balls have 2 coatings and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until required.
  • 05
  • For mustard crème fraîche, combine ingredients (see note), then transfer to a serving bowl.
  • 06
  • Preheat a deep-fryer to 160C and deep-fry cheese balls in batches, turning, until golden brown and hot on the inside (2-3 minutes; take care, hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper and serve immediately with mustard crème fraîche.
Note Crème fraîche varies in consistency. If necessary, whisk until thick enough to spoon.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 - 14 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 - 14 people

Drink Suggestion

2012 Channing Daughters Rosato di Sculpture Garden.

Featured in

Nov 2013

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