Episode #13: Trotters
James and Sam dive feet first in to the gelatinous world of pigs trotters. The humble trotter is rarely seen on supermarket shelves but it’s an essential ingredient in delicious broths, pies and even beauty products. Yum yum.
Inspired by Rich & Creamy Tonkotsu Ramen Broth by SeriousEats.com
- 2 large pig trotters, split lengthwise
- 3 or 4 roast chicken carcasses, skin and excess fat removed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, skin on, roughly chopped
- 12 garlic cloves
- One 3-inch knob ginger, roughly chopped
- 2 whole leeks, washed and roughly chopped
- 20 spring onions, white parts only (reserve greens and light green parts for garnishing finished soup)
- 250g mushrooms or mushroom scraps
- 250g pork fat back (optional)
- ramen noodles
- soft boiled ramen eggs (we used this recipe from TheFlavorBender.com)
- chashu pork loin (we used this recipe from JustOneCookbook.com)
- spring onion greens
- fresh bean sprouts
- chilli oil
- sesame paste
- soy sauch
- fresh grated garlic
- Place the trotters and chicken carcasses in a very large pot you own and cover with about 5 litres of water. Place on the stove over a high heat and bring to the boil.
- As soon as the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat and dump the water down the drain.
- In a seperate frying pan, add the oil and onion, garlic and ginger. Fry over a high heat until charred – about 15 minutes. Don’t be afraid to let them go a little darker than seems sensible – it all adds to the depth of flavour of the broth.
- Wash the trotters and bones in cold water, using chop sticks to remove any coagulated blood or dark marrow. This will help to keep your broth light and creamy.
- Place the trotters and chicken carcasses back in to the broth pot, along with the charred veg, leeks, mushrooms, spring onion whites and the backfat (if using). Cover with cover and bring to a rolling boil for about 20 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.
- After about 20 minutes, foam will stopped forming on the surface. Reduce the temperature to a simmer. Cover and leave for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, remove the back fat, place in sealed tupperware and refrigerate.
- Continue to let the broth simmer for a further 12-24 hours – or longer – until the broth has reached a smooth creamy consistency. Top up the water level regularly to make sure the trotters and chicken carcasses are covered at all times.
- When ready, the trotters should have almost completely disintegrated, leaving only bones and meat. Strain the liquid in to a clean pot then place back on the stove over a heat, reducing until you have around 3 litres of broth. Discard the solids.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, a hard fat layer will have formed on top of the broth. The broth will be firm and jellyish, so remove the fat with a spatula and discard.
- When you are ready to serve, reheat the broth until gently bubbling. Finely chop cooked fatback and whisk in. Ladel in to big bowls. Add ramen noodles and toppings of your choice (soy sauce, sesame paste, grated fresh garlic, chili oil etc).
Inspired by Ginger Pig Pork Pies from the Ginger Pig Farmhouse Cook Book
Recipe makes four pies.
For the filling:
- 100g melted butter
- 25 melted lard
- 1 kg mince fatty pork (we used leg)
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 tcp fresh parsley
For the pastry:
- 700g plain flour
- 50g icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- 200g lard
For the jelly:
- 2 pigs trotters
- 4 black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- To make the jelly, place the trotters in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, discard the water down the drain then return the trotters to a pan and cover with 3 litres of fresh water. Add bay leaves and peppercorns then bring to a simmer. Cover and leave for 4 hours.
- Strain the liquid then cover and chill to set overnight. If it is looking a little runny the next day then reheat in the pan to reduce. Likewise, if it is too firm then add a little water to thin.
- Preheat oven to 170c. Brush four pie tins with the melted lard then dust with flour.
- To make the filling, mix the ground pork in a large bowl with the nutmeg, parsley, pepper and salt.
- To make the pastry, mix the flour, salt and sugar in a seperate bowl. Melt the butter and lard in a pan with 200ml water until almost boiling. Pour over the flour and mix quickly until you have a smooth glossy dough.
- You will need to working quickly to form the pastry casing before the dough hardens. Divide the dough in to 8 pieces, four larger pieces that are 185g and four smaller pieces that are 115g. Cover them with clingfilm and a tea towel to stop them cooling and drying out.
- Roll out the larger pieces in to circles and use to line the pie dishes. Divide the filling equally between the tins, then brush the edges of the pastry rim with the beaten egg.
- Roll out the smaller pieces in to circles and lay on top to form a lid. Crimp the edges to seal. Using a chop stick, poke a 1 cm hole in the centre of each lid – this is where your jelly will be poured in. Bake for 1 hour then leave to cool.
- Reheat your jelly in a pan until it becomes liquid again. Use a small funnel to pour the jelly in to each pie hole. Allow to set for two hours before serving.