Cooking pigs' trotters
( SERVES 4 )
I was on a hunt for mutton the other day when I came across pigs' trotters, or feet. I also found goat chops and pickled pork, so you know what to expect in my future columns. Mutton, however, continues to evade me. Pigs' trotters aren't the nicest things to look at. For a start, they're feet, which aren't the most attractive part of any animal, including humans. They're also covered in skin, bone and toenails, so the last thing you can imagine wanting to do is put them in your mouth. In Nana's day, when it was a point of pride to use up every single bit of the animal and not let any go to waste, they would simply boil these up until the meat was falling off the bone, sit down and have a good old munch. Little did they know that they were consuming the protein collagen, which our bodies use to make cartilage and which covers the bones in our joints. So in essence, a good feed of pigs' trotters was a great way to prevent joint pain.
- Put the trotters in a pot and cover with water and spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for about four hours, or until the skin and meat is falling off the bones. Alternatively, you could cook them in a pressure cooker as I did, at maximum pressure for about 40 minutes.
- When the trotters are cooked, reserve the liquid and pull them out to cool. Strip the meat off and place this in a small oblong container. When you've finished, pour over the liquid that's still warm, to fill the container.
- Cool it completely, then refrigerate. In the morning you should be able to turn the brawn out onto a plate, ready to slice up for lunch.
Tip: If you want to make a larger brawn you could add different pieces of pork, such as shanks, or any other meat you have.