Sunday, October 10, 2010

Feet Don't Fail Me Now

Pigs' feet, aka, "trotters" are a culinary punchline -- an animal product so absurd that they are only referenced as something you'd eat if you had lost a bet.  Most Americans view trotters as something only poor people and foreigners eat; they are repulsed by the thought of ever having to stomach such a barbaric edible.

Ironically, Americans love hot dogs -- see where I'm going with this?  I won't get too descriptive, but even the largest, most visible hot dog manufacturers are legally allowed to use "meat trimmings" and up to 15% "added ingredients".
What I've got here are twice-cooked pigs feet -- braised, then roasted.  There's not much of a recipe to this, but the technique is as follows:

  • Go to the market and buy 2lbs pigs' feet, halved & sectioned. Also pick up a prepackaged soup-starter kit w/ leek, potato, turnip, carrot. onion,  parsley, and dill -- most markets offer these veggie starter kits, look for it in produce.  
  • Add the trotters, veggie starter kit, and one cup white vinegar to a large pot.  Add water to cover.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 3-4 hours, or until meat is just falling off the bone.  Don't over do it, we don't want them to disintegrate! 
  • Remove trotters from the braising liquid and arrange them on a rack over a half sheet tray.  Bake in a 350°oven for one hour, raise the temperature to 450°and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes to crisp up the skin. 
A little bit of Frank's Red Hot goes a long way w/ these unctuous morsels.  
The taste is mild pork, but the texture is out of this world. The crisp skin contrasts sharply w/ the rich and gooey collagen land mines that explode with every bite.  For all the pork aficionados out there, imagine a cross between St. Louis style ribs, and pork belly -- there's your pigs' feet.

© 2010 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -