JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jellied stock good enough to eat on its own

Okay, this post is not for the squeamish. But it IS for anyone who likes complex flavours in their food, for anyone who hates waste, and for anyone who has access to a butcher's shop. Emphatically not supermarket food.

For once, I'm following a recipe to the letter. Next time I won't be so literal ... I won't put in as much Madeira, because the result is very sweet. It's not exactly a waste of good Madeira, because the taste shines through, but in this house I think we'd probably rather drink it than use it quite so liberally in the cooking.

The recipe comes from Fergus Henderson's book Beyond Nose to Tail Eating. It's the sequel to Nose to Tail Eating, a book which I have not yet read, although I ordered both at the same time. The recipe for this wondrous stock - which Henderson calls Trotter Gear - has been several years in the making, and therefore does not appear in the first book. But loads of the dishes Henderson makes with it are in both books, and I will definitely be making them.

Trotter gear

6 pig's trotters (I used four)
2 onions (peeled)
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 leeks
1 head of garlic
a handful of peppercorns
1/2 bottle of Madeira
enough chicken stock to cover the trotters

Get the butcher to split the trotters. Put them in a large casserole, cover with water and boil for five minutes. Drain and rinse off the scum. Put back into the rinsed casserole with all the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then put in a low oven for three hours or more - until the meat is falling off the bone.

When the trotters are cool enough to handle, strip off the flesh. Shred it, and put into a Le Parfait jar. Strain the stock over it. Seal, and keep in the fridge. Do this while everything is still warm, because it's much harder when the meat is cold.

If you are a little squeamish but have managed so far, you could just strain the stock off, and not worry about using the meat. I might do this next time, because my dogs were keen as mustard to get hold of the trotters, and they'd be a fabulous treat for two Jack Russells.

Either way, the meaty basis of this nectar cost £1. Jellied stock, sitting in my fridge. Five minutes' work. So many possibilities.


Alex said...

I have some trotters lurking in the freezer - this looks like a relatively low fuss way of dealing with them so I'll have to keep it in mind!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I remember my grandmother using trotters;)
This would be an adventure for me. A real butcher is hard to find these days.

Joanna said...

Tanna, it's an adventure for me too - especially as I don't think my grandmother did any such thing ;) We are lucky here, as there is still one outstanding butcher left in the town - although there were five or six when I was a girl.

Alex - this is simple and v useful - follow some of the links, and you'll find recipes, but there'll be more here soon


VP said...

Ooh that is just fab!

We have a mega farm shop within walking distance selling their own meat as well as all sorts of other goodies. I must see if they can provide me with some.

Thanks for your lovely comment on my Undecided post. I'll certainly follow up the Oxford Uni CE lead. I used to work in Oxford, so I never think of it as being that far from Chippenham...

A Green and Rosie Life said...

Oooh - we have 4 trotters in the freezer. Do you know how long the stock keeps in the fridge?

Rosie x

Joanna said...

VP, there's a biggish farm shop near here where you can buy mutton, something I don't often see anywhere else ... I bet yours sells trotters

Rosie, I'm not sure, Henderson doesn't give any actual guidelines on this. But when I make ordinary stock it keeps for a fortnight or so, and if I think I'll want it longer, then I put it in the freezer. But I have to say, I'd rather have this in the fridge, because a spoonful here and there will liven everything up no end. On the other hand, I may end up putting half the next batch into the freezer, if the novelty's worn off ;)

I love how many people have trotters in their freezers - fabulous :)


David Hall said...

Joanna, my kind of food, and that is why I love Fergus! Great book.


Jeanne said...

Oh wow! I am getting less and less squeamish the older I get, and I figure if I've eaten the bacon, ten what right have I got to turn my nose up at the trotters? The stock sounds incredible - thanks for the recipe.