Magazine article Sunset

Reasons to Rediscover Pig's Feet

Magazine article Sunset

Reasons to Rediscover Pig's Feet

Article excerpt

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. …

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