Eating Nose to Tail


 
Suet is raw beef fat found around the kidneys and loins, tallow is what you have after you melt it, and strain it.

After my last adventure rendering lard, being stuck in the kitchen for six hours watching fat melt I was prepared for the long haul.  But surprisingly, tallow was much more forgiving than lard.
Picture
Suet.
First you chop the suet into smallish pieces.
Picture
Put your chopped suet into a thick bottomed pot, over a low heat and prepare for the waiting game to begin.
Picture
Or not.

My suet took half the time to melt than my pig fat did - which was a nice surprise. 
Picture
After about an hour, maybe a tad longer.
The tallow that I'm making is destined for french fries, beef fat makes really great fries.  It's also shelf stable if kept in an airtight container.
Picture
At the three hour mark.
Much like lard my next steps are strain out the hard bits that have sunk to the bottom.  Many recipes suggest that after you strain you heat again.
Picture
Strained, hot tallow.
That's it - in three hours (not six) I have beautiful yellow tallow that will sit in the fridge and turn a lovely crisp white colour once it has chilled.
Picture
Chilled tallow.
Now off to make some fries, or candles.
 
 
Here she is, in all her gelatinous glory.
Picture
The texture of the feet is lovely, a little firm but definitely supple.  I wish I would have included some more meat, maybe some chopped up ham.

I'm proud to say my gelatin is definitely stable at room temperature - no leaky feet here.
 
 
Having been repeatedly told that one of the biggest barriers to enjoying headcheese is the word headcheese I've decided to make a very similar dish (meat set in gelatin) but use a few different ingredients and call it something a tad more pleasing to the ear - pain de pieds was born.

Playing off of headcheese, I decided on feetbread (I used trotters as my gelatin source.)  That name, however, did not sound any more appetizing than headcheese.  A light bulb went off, I translated it into french and a much more pleasing (at least in name) dish was born.
Picture
Trotters and dried spices soming up to a simmer.
My chopped up trotters (pigs feet) went into a pot of cold water with some dried whole spices; juniper, peppercorns, allspice and whole dried chili.

This pot was on the stove, being occasionally filled up from my kettle, for a few hours.  When cooking trotters always skim the foam that appears on the top of the pot.  There will be lots of foam.

When the trotters are lovely and tender strain the trotters and keep the liquid.  It will be cloudy and full of gelatin (awesome).
Picture
Feet and cooking liquid.
When the trotters are cool enough to handle carefully pick all the meat, skin and tendon from the bones.  Make very sure you remove all the bones.
Picture
Bones on the left, good stuff on the right.
Take all the meat, skin etc that you've lovingly separated from the bones and chop it finely.
Picture
Put your pile of meaty skin, and gelatinous stock in the fridge  and let the stock set.

Once set its texture should look like this.
Picture
Yum.

Taste your trotter jello - it should taste savory but not too complex.  Keep in mind that this will be served cold, so go a little heavy on the seasoning.

Put your jello in a pot to melt.  I seasoned mine with salt, siracha, white wine and cider vinegar.  I also chopped up the only carrot in my house (which is kinda sad) in a fine brunoise and put it in my simmering stock to cook very slightly.
Picture
Line a small, loaf shaped dish with plastic and put your chopped feet in the bottom.  Strain the carrots, pour your seasoned liquid over the chopped feet and sprinkle the carrot over the liquid.
Picture
Put the whole mess back in the fridge to set, ideally overnight.
Picture
I'm too excited to be back, I just couldn't wait to post.  I don't have a finished image yet, tomorrow, I promise.

Also - I wanted to say "Hi!" and thanks for stopping by Formaggio yesterday to the nice man from Michigan.  I was in the shop later that day, and was really sorry I missed you!

More on my pain de pieds tomorrow.