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Reasons to rediscover pig's feet.

There's not much to pigs' feet but flavor--but what's there is choice. Though these bone-filled delicacies have very little meat, they are held together by an abundance of tendons and skin. It takes long, gentle cooking with moist heat to convert their resiliency to succulent juiciness so tender that the bones pull free.

Despite the seemingly meager make-up of this economical cut, pigs' feet provide more protein and less fat per pound than spareribs.

Though not always on display, pigs' feet are generally available. Many markets keep a supply frozen or will taken an order (it may require a day or two to fill). An average foot weighs 12 to 14 ounces; unadorned, one makes a serving.

At the market, have the feet sawed into pieces as directd in the following recipes; home tools don't do the job.

The first dish is a traditional Northern Italian stew; chunks of pigs' feet simmer with onions and tomato sauce to make a richly flavored broth. As the potatoes cook, they crumble and thicken the good juices. Serve with a green salad and bread for a hearty meal.

The second recipe is a bit showier. The split foot is cooked in one piece, then coated with crumbs and broiled. Bites are dipped into a choice of flavorful, piquant sauces. Serve as an appetizer or entree.

It's almost impossible not to use your hands when consuming pigs' feet, so provide damp towels or finger bowls. Tuscan Pigs' Feet Stew

2 Large onions, chopped

1/3 cup olive or salad oil

3 pounds (about 4) pigs' feet, sawed into 2-inch pieces

5 cups regular-strength chicken broth

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Parsley sprigs

In a 6- to 8-quart pan on medium-high heat, combined chopped onion and oil; cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until onion is pale gold, about 10 minutes.

Add pigs' feet, broth, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer 2 hours. Add potatoes and continue to simmer, covered, until feet are very tender when pierced and fall apart when prodded, 1-1/2 to 2 hours longer; stir occasionally. (If made ahead, let cool, cover, and chill up to 3 days; reheat.)

Ladle stew into bowls, allowing 2 to 3 cups for a serving because the feet are so bony; top with parsley. Serves 6 to 8. Crusty Pigs' Trotters

4 pigs' feet (3 to 3-1/2 lbs.) sawed in half lengthwise

6 cups regular-strength chicken broth

1/2 cup melted butter or salad oil

1 cup unseasoned fine dry bread crumbs

Red vinegar sauce (recipe follows)

Green caper sauce (recipe follows)

When wine sauce (recipe follows)

In a 6-to 8-quart pan, combine pigs' feet and broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until feet are very tender when pierced, about 3 hours. With a slotted spoon, gently lift feet from broth, taking care to preserve their shape; set aside until cool enough to handle (you can cover the cooled feet and chill overnight). Remove fat from broth; reserve broth for sauces (following) and for soups.

Working with half a foot at a time, brush all over with melted butter, then roll in crumbs; gently shake off excess crumbs. Place feet, cut side up and side by side, in a single layer on a 10-by 15-inch baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining butter. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until brown, then turn with a wide spatula and broil the top side until browned, about 25 minutes total.

Mound on a platter. Serve with 1 or more, of the sauces. For a main dish, have a small bowl of each sauce for each serving. Individuals can cut feet into bite-size portions and dip into sauce to eat. Makes 4 servings as an entree, 8 as an appetizer.

Red vinegar sauce. In a 1-quart or smaller pan, blend 1/2 cup reserved pigs' feet cooking broth, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, and 1-1/2 teaspoons current or other tart jelly. Bring to a boil, uncovered; boil until jelly is melted. Pour into a small bowl and top with sliced green onion. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Green caper sauce. In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup salad oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons drained capers, 1/4 cup chopped green onion, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 egg yolk, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add salt to taste. Just before serving, stir in 3 tablespoons minced parsley. Pour into a small bowl. Serve at room temperature.

White wine sauce. In a 1-quart or smaller pan on medium-high heat, melt 2 teaspoons butter or margarine. Add 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour; cook, stirring, until bubbly. Whisk in 2/3 cup reserved pigs' feet cooking broth, 1/4 cup dry white wine, 2 teaspoons chopped cornichons or dill pickles, and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill as long as overnight; reheat to serve.) Pour into a small bowl and top with chopped parsley.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1984
Words:849
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