With all the fish I’ve been eating the past week, it was time to go back to pork. What better way to celebrate my return than to, ahem, trot back to the kitchen with pig’s feet. This is another recipe from StÃ©phane Reynaud’s Pork & Sons. If you can get a glimpse of the book, turn to page 190–you’ll want to make the recipe at home, too.
In Chinatown’s Deluxe Food Market, pig’s trotters are less than $3 for a pair. If you can’t find them in the frozen section, get one of the Chinese men’s attention and say “feet” while pointing at your shoes; one of them will surely direct you to the right shelf. The original recipe uses walnut oil to bring out the richness of the feet. I didn’t want to spend $12 on a bottle from Dean & Deluca, so I stuck with my good olive oil at home. I think I achieved what the author was thinking of here.
The funny thing about pig’s feet is that people forget that it’s not offal. Sure, a foot is an odd part of the pig to be eating, but you don’t eat it like you do chicken’s feet at dimsum. (I’ve never heard of pig’s foot in a stick either.) It takes a couple of hours to make the feet soft and when you take them out of the boiling water, the meat and skin fall off the bones easily. They are rich in fat content and very gelatinous, so you get the same fatty meat that you do from a very Filipino pork adobo. It’s all that fat you can be squeamish about, not which part it came from.
2 pig’s feet, thoroughly rinsed
4 strips bacon, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
1 white onion, halved
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch scallion, chopped
half a bunch of parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper, oil
1. In a large Dutch oven, put the feet, bacon, white onion, carrots, scallions, parsley and bay leaves with enough water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
2. While waiting for the feet to soften, heat some oil in a skillet and sautÃ© 1 red onion and cook until soft. Set aside.
3. After 2 hours, remove the feet and bacon from the pot using a slotted spoon. Using a fork and a knife, separate the meat and the skin from the bones. This should be fairly easy. Discard the bones.
4. Chop the bacon. Combine the sautÃ©d onion with the feet meat and skin plus the bacon. Season with some salt and pepper. Using a Saran wrap, spoon the mixture and arrange like a sausage. Cover and roll like a tight, big blunt. (Oh, come on. You know.) Put in the freezer for 30 minutes.
5. While waiting for the pig’s feet sausage to form, caramelize the last red onion by sautÃ©ing some hot oil in the same skillet and mixing with brown sugar. Set aside for topping.
6. Make your dressing. Whisk together some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
7. After 30 minutes, preheat your broiler. Remove the feet from the freezer, unwrap and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place on an ovenproof serving plate. Heat briefly in the broiler, just enough to warm the meat up, less than 5 minutes. To serve, top with caramelized onion and chives, and then drizzle with oil-balsamic dressing.