There was always something satisfying about seeing those little pots of preserved meat in the butchers. Off brown with a shiny pallor from the jelly they looked like pure flavour in a tub. Except for the jelly. I abhor meat jelly, the sight of it dropping out of a tin of chopped ham and pork, or clinging for dear life to corned beef was enough to render my appetite missing. But somehow this wasn’t the case with potted hough. However in my recipe here the jelly is very conspicuous by its absence. You can add it in but I use it to capture the whole spices and prefer to leave it in the pan.
For this recipe I’ve used rose veal osso bucco, a meat I’m very fond of, and added delicate spices that generally wouldn’t be found in traditional potted hough. The spices of white pepper, coriander, and mace are all aromatic, strong yet delicate and they lift this young meat to a new level that it doesn’t have with slow cooking alone like beef shin would. Traditionally this would’ve been cooked over an open fire and I’ve smoked the meat with alder for 15 minutes before cooking to recreate that smoky flavour from this traditional Scottish wood. You can leave this stage out but if you have a smoker or even a roasting tin and tray then I’d recommend it as it adds a sweet smoky complexity. Don’t be alarmed by the cooking smells if you do. They remind me a little of washing ashtrays as a student working in the union but this smell does dissipate and the flavour is worth it.
Rose veal potted hough
1kg rose veal osso bucco bone in (shin) in 2-3 slices
1tsp white pepper
1tsp coriander seeds
Blade mace, around 1 inch long
Salt and pepper to season
Optional : 2 tsps alder chips for smoking
1. (Optional) If smoking the meat then place on a tray over the chips. Cover and heat over a low heat until the wood starts to smoke. Smoke for 15 minutes then remove from the smoker;
2. In a heavy based pot place the meat and spices then add cold water until half way up the meat. Cover and bring to the boil on the hob then reduce the heat to the minimum;
3. Cook at a low simmer for 6-8 hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Allow to cool then pick the meat out from the bone and jelly. In a food processor blitz until quite fine then add another pot with half a teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of pepper. (At this point you can add some or all of the jelly, preferably leaving the cooking spices behind);
4. Heat through for five minutes or so, correcting for seasoning. Blitz again in the food processor until paste like and then place into pots and cool in the fridge. It will keep chilled for a few days.