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Polish Pork / Ham Hocks Recipe - Golonka


Polish Pork Hocks or Golonka

Polish Pork Hocks or Golonka

© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Pork hocks, also called knuckles or ham hocks, are known as golonka (goh-LOHN-kah) in Polish. The hock is actually the ankle of the pig. Fresh hocks are traditional. Smoked hocks are not traditional, but if that's all you can find, remember to reduce the salt. Generally, allow 1 hock per person. This recipe serves 4.

Golonka is considered a national dish of Poland and can be prepared in many ways. I like to boil mine first (save that rich stock for soup) and then glaze them in the oven. They are delicious served with sauerkraut, boiled potatoes or dumplings, and rye bread, spicy mustard and cold beer. Larger photo.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings Polish Golonka


  • Hocks:
  • 4 large fresh or smoked pork / ham hocks
  • 1 tablespoon salt (less if using smoked hocks)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 2 juniper berries (optional)
  • 1 large peeled carrot
  • 1 large peeled and quartered onion
  • 1 piece peeled parsnip
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablesoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 to 1 can beer
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cooking liquid


  1. Singe off any hair on hocks over an open flame. Rinse and place hocks in a large lidded Dutch oven or pot. Add enough water to cover by several inches. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.

  2. Add salt, bay leaf, peppercorns, juniper berries (if using), carrot, onion, parsnip, celery, garlic, parsley and caraway (if using), and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 1 1/2 to 3 hours or until meat is ALMOST falling off the bones.

  3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove hocks from pot and transfer to a baking pan with sides that just accommodate the meat. You want them to be almost touching. In a small saucepan, add beer and honey and a few tablespoons cooking liquid. Heat until honey has dissolved. Pour mixture over ham hocks and bake 30-45 minutes, basting occasionally, until meat is completely tender and glazed.

  4. NOTE: Strain the cooking liquid, pushing on the vegetables to extract their juices, chill and then skim off the congealed fat. Use to make soups, cabbage, beans or any other dish.

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