Cleaning out my freezer I came across a pair of trotters from our meat CSA. I'd been telling myself that I was going to bone them out and stuff them, but considering how long they'd been sitting in the freezer that seemed pretty unlikely. Instead I turned to Fergus Henderson's second book Beyond Nose To Tail and made a lazy version of trotter gear. By lazy I mean I put mirepoix, red wine, peppercorns, some water and the trotters in my slow cooker and let it go for 6 hours.
The house smelled terrific. Once my slow cooker was done I strained the liquid and picked through the leftovers removing all the large bits of vegetables and bones. Then I tore the large bits of skin, tender cartilage and meat into small pieces and placed it back in the rich liquid.
After it set in the fridge overnight I really got to see how thick the liquid actually was. Gelatinous is an understatement. Prying a chunk out to cook some 4th of July collard greens in took both a spoon and a knife.
The flavour is intense, meaty and very porky.
Collard greens cooked in trotter gear
Not really sure what to do withe the rest of my trotter gear, I'm open to suggestions.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Put the whole mess back in the fridge to set, ideally overnight.
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.
"using virtually the entirety of any plant or animal"