During the weekend, I suddenly really wanted some pork trotter. Problem is, the usual place where I satisfy that particular craving is a tad far away. So I decided to have a go at cooking it myself.
A quick trip to my local butchers and grocery store had me dragging back a kilo (roughly 4 legs) of trotter all nicely chopped up, and half a kilo of ox cheeks, just because I saw them there looking lovely and intriguing, and some massive spring onions…
White wine vinegar,
Dark and light soya sauce,
Cinnamon and chili flakes,
Sze chuan peppercorn,
Ginger, spring onion and garlic, Waki (optional)
A quick assembly of the wet and dry ingredients makes for an easier cook-fest. Plus, it’s also less likely to forget something.
Put the trotters into cold water and bring to a rolling boil for around 10 minutes, then rinse really well in cold water (and clean again. Loads of bits and bobs you’d want to get rid of. This step takes the most time). Dump them back into a pot (my trusty cast iron one worked best) with heat on, and add the liquids and herbs. Give them a thorough stir and then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Amount of each item is up to your taste.
Let it cook for at least 1 1/2 hours (mine was around 2 1/2), occasionally stirring it so it doesn’t stick. When your stomach is grumbling and saliva dripping from the whole house smelling absolutely gorgeous, remove pork trotters and strain sauce to remove the bits of herb bark, etc.
Put pork back into the sauce, add hard boiled eggs and more freshly chopped spring onions (though this step is optional), and let to cook for a little bit longer.
Serve with rice when you can’t be bothered to wait any longer, and will start ngawing on your braised trotter scented arm from the stirring you’ve been doing.
I was so full that night. Belly happy with nice soft melt-in-your mouth slightly spicy gelatinous savoury goodness.
As for the ox cheeks, while the trotter was bubbling away I slow cooked it in a ragu-based sauce. (The usual, chopped tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, a bit of water, herbs of choice, onions, red wine and a bit of sugar). This I cooked for around 3 hours, and had it the next day with some pasta.
My goodness it was surprisingly lovely. You could cut the meat with a spoon. It went down well with a big glass of red wine.