Monday, December 3, 2007

Sweet and sour pig’s trotters

This is an adapted version of a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The oloroso sherry is a little local touch, but definitely goes well with the sweet and sour effect.

Pig's trotters (or cow's hooves) are not generally eaten in the UK, although I'm sure they used to be. As a child, I vividly remember my friends’ Lebanese-Egyptian dad, Tony Kanaan, eating soup with a big cow’s hoof sitting in the middle of his bowl.

4 pigs’ trotters
Sunflower oil
3 cloves of garlic, mashed to a paste in a pestle and mortar with a little salt
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
100 ml of dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of dry oloroso sherry

  1. Ask your butcher to split the trotters lengthwise down the middle, then cut them across the way so that each trotter is cut into 4 pieces.
  2. In a large saucepan, brown the trotter pieces in some sunflower oil.
  3. Add the garlic paste, and fry for a few seconds.
  4. Add the ground ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, wine vinegar, and sherry.
  5. Add enough water to cover the pigs’ trotters.
  6. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover the pan, reduce to minimum and cook until the trotters are very tender (about 2½ hours).
  7. Remove the trotters from the pan and set aside.
  8. Simmer the cooking liquid slowly until it is syrupy.
  9. Return the trotters to the pan and heat through.

According to Hugh, “Not everyone likes pig’s trotters … This is the perfect dish to make enthusiastic converts of sceptics.” Having tried it out on a tableful of sceptics, I can’t say I agree, as I was left feeling like a Jehovah’s Witness who has just had the door slammed firmly in his face. At least I was able to console myself with a large bowl of sweet and sour pig’s trotters all to myself!

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