Pigs feet in Meat Sauce???
I have heard of people adding pigs feet into their meat sauce. Apparently it has something to do with the geletan that is released while the sauce simmers over the course of cooking. Has anyone heard of this and if so what flavor, benefit, etc does this add. Also if this is done any recipes you can share so I can test this out? Thanks in advance.
Yep, very tasty and very gelatinous once the sauce gets cold. Pigs feet are often times added to tomato sauces in lieu of involtini di cotiche -- which are rolled pig skins made with parsley, cheese, cracked pepper, and garlic (image included with this reply). Whichever you opt for, both add a great richness to your sauce, and both can be eaten after your pasta course. Most people prefer eating "sliced up" cotiche over having to gnaw on a pig's foot. It's also very advisable to cook pigs feet that have been halved or quartered. Whole pigs feet are rather difficult to stir once in the pot and they are also difficult to handle when eating. Have your butcher slice them up for you. HTH.
As far as recipes, search for "cotiche". For the most part, you can do anything with pigs feet that you can do with pigs skin. Both produce plenty of flavor and gelatin.
I am still unable to stop talking to anyone who will listen about my pork hock-related successes recently. The meat was damn tasty, but what was even better was the leftover braising liquid. SO tasty, incredible body, and lends a great mouthfeel to whatever I put it in. Definitely give it a shot.
"Meat sauce" is a pretty vague and general category. But my Italian mother-in-law always adds pigs feet to her "gravy" (tomato sauce). As explained by Cheese Boy, it adds richness (fat and gelatin) and flavor to the sauce. My mother-in-law used to make her gravy from scratch, but now doctors a commercial tomato sauce by adding pigs feet and other ingredients.
I don't think I've ever bought a whole, uncut foot. American markets (nearly) always slice it in half lengthwise. Asain markets often slice it crosswise several times as well.
A whole foot should release its gelatin nearly as well as a cut one. Cutting does not expose much more skin. There is, of course, gelatin in the ligaments and tendons inside the foot as well. But if you cook the foot long enough, all of it gets tender (except for the bones :) ).
Usually I cook a foot separately with light seasonings. That allows me to add the resulting stock (stiff as Knox blocks) by the spoonful to gravies and sauces.