A good addition to this dish is very finely chopped, blanched green cabbage mixed into your mashed potatoes as well as shallots, so you are stuffing your trotter with a bubble and squeak.
First and foremost, happy holidays to you and yours!
This is—finally—the last recipe for that marathon thing I did a while ago. It’s also easily the most complicated of the bunch, and that’s all due to the whole debone-a-pig’s-trotter part. I’m still not sure why I waited to do it last that evening. Oh, wait. I remember now. I was incredibly intimidated by the whole debone-a-pig’s-trotter part. Thankfully there was an experienced chef on hand to lead me through the tough parts because while the instructions in the book are fairly straightforward, they just aren’t able to properly explain all of the nuances that can arise when it comes time to take knife to pig limb.
Here’s just a snippet of the what’s needed to debone a trotter:
Chefs have likened this to being as easy as removing a kid glove, but if you don’t find this, don’t get disheartened. Start at the other end from the hoof, cut under the skin as close to the bone as possible (avoid cutting through the skin), work your knife further down the trotter following the bone; you should get down to the first claws!
Now’s the part of the story where I confess something I’m not proud of. I tried my very best to debone the trotters without breaking the skin. Scout’s honor, I tried. My buddy Paul C. managed to eventually remove the bone in his trotter, so we did have at least one proper pig’s foot among our shortcut versions.
This was just so much faster. Keep in mind I was punch drunk from lack of sleep, we were strapped for time and trying to do difficult cuts with a sharp knife and an unwilling trotter was just a recipe for a emergency room visit. I have no regrets over a little shortcut this one time.
Here’s one of the “finished” trotters showcased by chef David Holtzman. Each trotter was sprinkled with salt and then placed in the fridge until later.
And when it was actually later, we shook the salt off the trotters and placed them in a pan along with the bones we removed, some garlic cloves, and a combination of stock and red wine. The whole thing was then covered with aluminum foil and the placed in a medium hot oven for a couple of hours. Once cooked thoroughly I left them to cool in the pan until almost room temperature.
Next up was stuffing each trotter with a mixture of mashed potatoes and duck fried shallots. We had to be careful not to overfill them, since Mr. Henderson warned that they would expand during further cooking.
When the feet were filled properly, each one was wrapped in caul fat to help them keep their shape.
Here are the trotters right after being seared in a hot pan with duck fat but before they were placed in a hot over for a few minutes to finish cooking. The caul fat mostly melted away in the process, leaving a wonderfully brown and crispy pig’s foot filled with fat enriched mashed potatoes.
Okay, I’ll say it. This is probably the least attractive finished dish photo I’ve taken, which is frustrating considering how wonderful it tasted.
Mashed potatoes and fried shallots infused with duck fat and all of the rendered fat from the trotter that ends up coating the mouth with that fatty, lip-sticking goodness that the amygdala part of our brains crave. Wibbly wobbly braised pork with a crunchy exterior. The flavors are bold, the texture sublime. It reminds me slightly of the trotter dish Marco Pierre White made at his famous restaurant, Harvey’s.
Yep. Terrible picture. Amazing recipe.
One down, thirty three to go.