Pig trotter prep tips
I had my first taste of pig trotters on a recent trip to San Francisco (Incanto). they were amazing. I've never made them. Can anyone offer advice/suggestions on preparation? It was like I was eating tender cartilage, and very savoury.
it's a chinese tradition (in the south, anyway) to make pigs feet for moms who've just given birth (apparently good for lactating moms). i wish i'd paid more attention back then - i recall beef tendon being boiled and rinsed and replaced with fresh water before adding the flavorings. whether i need to or not, i do the same with pigs feet - helps render some of the fat anyway
look up chinese red-cooking (hong shao － 红烧). it will make delicious, savory, melt-in-your-mouth tender pigsfeet! the idea is to simmer in a mix of water, soy sauce, sugar (white or brown), and some asian spices (star anise, cinnamon), for a loooong time on a low heat. my mom is obsessed with pigsfeet and this is the only way she ever cooked them. (yes, we're chinese =D)
You can google recipes for the 'pickled pigs feet' and other traditional Chinese recipes. I made some for my sister and some for a friend after they gave birth to their babies. It's pretty easy. I don't remember where I found the following recipe but it'll give you the idea. An old auntie told me to use the pre-sweetened black vinegar (the jug of expensive stuff) but you can use inexpensive black vinegar, raw brown sugar and a lot of ginger. Also, because I prefer the meat rather than the skin, I added meatier cuts to the mix.
"CHU KIOK CHOU" (VINEGARED PIG'S TROTTERS)
(Chinese believe Black Vinegar purifies the blood, Old Ginger drives out wind, and Brown Sugar puts a check on "dampness". Pigs' Trotters are said to provide collagen and is good for strengthening joints & lumbar. Sesame Seed Oil is also to promote blood circulation and the eggs to nourish the body. But for most of us, we just LOVE to eat this dish - whether confinement or not! This is also a dish popularly offered to relatives & neighbours who visit.)
2 Pig's Trotters
1 kg Old Ginger, skinned & smashed lightly
4 Tbsp Sesame Seed Oil
1 bottle (~4cups) Black Vinegar
600g Brown Sugar
4 Hard Boiled Eggs, shelled
9 cups water
• Clean & pluck off the hair from the pig's trotters. Cut into Big serving pieces.
• Heat Sesame Seed Oil. Fry Old ginger until golden brown & fragrant.
• Put fried ginger into a BIG claypot. Add vinegar, water, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for 1/2 an hour until ginger becomes soft.
• Add pig's trotters and continue to simmer until soft & tender (approx. 2hrs)
Add shelled hard-boiled eggs 1/2 and hour before serving. My confinement Nanny puts the eggs in with its shells still on though. This way, the vinegar will dissolve the shells and provide more calcium for the mother in confinement!
This dish also tastes nicer upon standing for days! If you can spare your crockpot/slowcooker, you can also prepare this Popular Dish in your crockpot.
You can make a delicious stuffed foot/hock like this
I wouldn't let it cool in the cooking liquid, however, since it'll set up like jello. Instead of caul fat, you can simply coat in bread crumbs and bake, skin side up in a hot oven until brown.
The braising makes the foot tender, the baking makes the exterior crispy.
I'm making this Friday as part of our sausage making party.
One of the best ways to enjoy trotters is deep fried. Boil with aromatics until tender and then deep fry to render the skin crisp. You end up with tender, almost gelatinous insides and crunch on the outside.
If you want to go the full offal route, I make a stew of tender pieces of beef and tripe combined with pork trotters in a savory, spicy garlic-tomato broth.