We went and "hamified" vegetables. That's right, we gave vegetables the ham treatment. This method calls for brining the vegetables in a sugar-salt solution, then roasting the veggies with ham hocks so they can soak up every last drop of delicious, meaty ham flavor. The natural sweetness of the veggies cuts through the ham's saltiness for a salty-sweet side dish your holiday dinner deserves. Serve it once, and it's sure to be a family-favorite.*
8 cups water
2 (6-oz.) meaty smoked ham hocks
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 bay leaves
2 bunches small carrots, trimmed and peeled
2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed cored and cut into 6 wedges each
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut diagonally into (11/2-inch long) pieces
1 head garlic, separated into cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
How to Make It
Place 8 cups water, hocks, salt, and bay leaves in a saucepan over high heat stirring until sugar dissolves, 4-5 minutes. Place vegetables in a large bowl or Dutch oven; pour hot liquid with hocks over vegetables. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Drain vegetables; discard bay leaves. Separate meat from hocks in large chunks. Place ham meat and vegetables on a foil-lined sheet pan. Add oil; toss well. Sprinkle with pepper. Roast at 400° until vegetables are very tender and caramelized, 30-35 minutes. Place in a serving dish; garnish with thyme.
*This recipe does not comply with Cooking Light nutrition standards.