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.
6 pig's trotters (I used four)
2 onions (peeled)
2 sticks of celery
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.
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