Sunday, 3 January 2010
Anatomy of Pigs' Feet
Well the trotter gear is now in a jar at the back of the fridge. Five fatty jars of the stuff. Fergus Henderson describes it as having "Unctuous potential". Unctuous, now my new favourite word, is well chosen. The 'Unct' part suggest the fatty, sticky quality of the Trotter Gear, perhaps the 'Tous' part comes from 'Tortuous'. It isn't, as I have learned, for the squeamish. I am now familiar with the intimate anatomy of pied du cochon. As you can see below, the trotters, now giving to the point of destruction (did I leave it in too long – I went out for a curry last night, left it relaxing overnight and then gave it a blast again this fine Sunday morning). It was then the tortuous job of separating anything that wasn't solid from the from the fat, skin and flesh.
It seemed predominantly fat and skin, the pied du cochon I had in Paris recently was a longer piece, going further up the leg, perhaps the more meaty part. What the butcher gave me was the very lower part of the trotter – imagine from your wrist down, and it appears that the pig foot has almost as many little bones as, say, my foot. Stripping fatty tendons and pulling apart second toe bones wasn't particularly pleasant, yet strangely the squelchy fat on my fingers felt nice, and I wasn't a mud pie sort of child.
I drained the veg (to be kept for the tongue), and chopped up the fat and skin further and popped it in the bowl and then decanted it into jars I had just sterilised.
With the Trotter Gear, and this was the real incentive, I can make pot roast bacon with trotter and prunes on foie gras toast (foie gras smuggled in from Paris). But also in Beyond Nose and Tail, guinea fowl, red cabbage, trotter and prune (I'm noticing a prune theme), beef and pickled walnut stew (pickled walnuts a big treat in this house) and, erm, braised squirrel, which, I think, I my pass on for now, as with the snails (regular garden snails that is), trotter sausage and chickpeas. The finest moment, apparently, for Trotter Gear is game pie, that I shall most certainly try, but not with the pheasant currently bleeding all over my fridge.
OK, so now, as asked for expressly by my grandad for tonight's tea: tongue. I think now might be a good time to try the sloe gin I made.