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Chef Challenge Collection


Smoked hock and vegetable soup

By Chef Emma McCaskill


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 3L chicken stock
  • 1 x 1-1.2kg large smoked ham hock
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 broccoli head cut into 2-3cm
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1cm dice
  • 2 cups podded fresh peas
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut on an angle
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley, finely chopped
  • Freshly crushed black pepper


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and stir occasionally until tender.
  2. Add stock, ham hock and garlic and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, adding more water as necessary to keep ham hock just covered, continue to cook until meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
  3. Remove ham hock from soup and, when cool enough to handle, shred or coarsely chop meat, discarding the skin and fat. Return the cooked meat to soup, bring up to a simmer.
  4. Add carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook for 5 minutes then add zucchini, peas and asparagus, and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender, approximately another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve soup warm, seasoned to taste with lemon juice, chopped parsley, and a generous grind of cracked pepper.

Crispy pork hock

with tamarind sauce, chili and trio of mint

By Chef Sam Pinzone


Hock braising

  • 2 pork hock
  • 1 lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 long red chilies, cut open
  • 2 bunches Vietnamese mint stalks
  • 2 bunch mint stalks
  • 2 bunch garden mint stalks
  • 2 bunch coriander stalks

Tamarind sauce

  • 1.5 kg palm sugar, grated
  • 750ml fish sauce
  • 8 tablespoons Tamarind paste

Nouc Cham

  • 150ml fish sauce
  • 200ml sugar syrup (150ml water, warm 100g caster sugar)
  • 100ml fresh lemon juice (you can add 50ml white vinegar)


  1. Begin by pre heating your oven to 200 degrees. Line a tray large enough to fit the pork hocks in with baking paper, add the bruised lemon grass, chili and all the herb stalks. Wash the hocks and add them to the tray cover with water or chicken stock. Braise for 4 hours until the hocks are soft and tender. Allow to cool. Once cold remove all the jelly from the hock as this will make the oil spit when frying even more than usual and can be very dangerous. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile make the tamarind sauce. Place the palm sugar in a pot and with a little bit of water to cover the base of the pan and allow to caramelise around 10 minutes. Add the fish sauce and tamarind paste check the seasoning, you may need to add more tamarind paste it should be sweet, sour and salty.
  3. For the Nouc Cham mix all ingredients together and taste for seasoning, it should be sour sweet and salty but refreshing.
  4. Set your fryer to 180 degrees or use a large enough pot with a thermometer. If using a pot remember to make sure its deep, I stress this because the oil will bubble up once the hock is added. Once the oil is hot very carefully add the pork hocks, depending on how big your fryer or pot is you may need to do this in batches. Fry the pork for 8 minutes until golden brown and crispy, carefully remove the pork hock, allow to rest for a 5minutes.
  5. While the pork hock is resting make your wedge plates, At Dandelion we like to place the wedges on the plate first followed by a mixture of the herbs on top of the wedges then sit the sit the nouc cham and rice in bowls next to the herbs and lettuce.
  6. Take your pork place in a bowl and cover in the tamarind sauce as much as you like, at this stage I like to add chili rounds both red and green (this is optional but I like the heat) then to garnish and make it look beautiful add a sprig of all three-mint stuffed into were the bone comes out of. Serve immediately and begin to wrap the pork in lettuce with herbs and dunk into the nouc cham.

Milk cooked pork shoulder

By Chef Ben O’Donoghue

Milk cooked pork shoulder
Chef Ben O'Donoghue


  • 1.5kg pork shoulder de-boned and skin removed
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 100g butter
  • 1 bunch sage, leaves picked
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Zest of 2 lemons (cut in small rounds)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 2-4 litres full fat milk


  1.  Season the shoulder of pork with salt and pepper.
  2. In a heavy bottom saucepan large enough to snugly fit the pork shoulder, melt 50g butter and allow to foam.
  3. Add the shoulder fat side down and slowly cook until golden and the fat has rendered, approximately 10 minutes maximum. Turn the pork and colour the other side.
  4. Remove the meat from the pan, drain off the excess fat and wipe clean.
  5. Place the remaining butter into the pan and melt. When foaming add the sage and garlic, cook gently for 1 minute. Then add the lemon, cook gently for a minute and then add the pork fat side up.
  6. Pour enough milk into the pot to bring the level up to ½ the height of the pork. Bring the milk to a simmer and then place a loose cover of wet baking paper over the top so as the moisture is maintained over the pork but the liquid can evaporate. Place in a static oven at 150°C.
  7. Cook like this until the liquid reduces then turn over and add the same amount of milk again and repeat the process. The meat when cook should be very tender and the milk will have reduced and coagulated.
  8. Serve with braised fennel or cavalo nero.

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