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Experimental Wednesday #1

March 17, 2010

I thought it was about time to write-up the first in the series of the Experimental Wednesdays. Jim McJim was laying on this one and came up with the theme: Cheap Cuts of Pork.

There was a minor miscalculation on our part. Although both avid cooks, we are not the Ready-Steady-Cook with Michelin star types that we wish we were. I mean that in the best possible way, naturally. The issue was when I rocked up after a tough day at work and we opened the bag of goodies from the butcher. The offering was glorious… the only issue being, we’d never come across a key ingredient, nor unfortunately, had we ever tried it at a place of repute. Pigs trotters. Fantastic for stocks to the uninitiated, but what else? Well, I hope you’ll agree that we managed OK. Surprisingly OK, actually.

Apologies

Before I go any further, I believe we owe our ladies a bit of an apology. The ideas were plentiful, however our timing may have been a tad off! The starter didn’t make it out until about 10PM. Oops! And there is actually another apology to make; we didn’t take any photos so if you have a go at any of the recipes; your submissions are very welcome, thank you.

Materials

So, let’s have a look at the bag of ingredients:

  • Pig Trotters and Knuckles
  • Pork Belly

We also had some potatoes, parsnip, a couple of apples, a cabbage and a black pudding – and this is what we did with them…

Methods

To start, we made a cider vinegar pigs’ trotter rillettes with a parsnip purée, a slice of black pudding and star anise fried apple. The verdict was positive, the only question raised was whether it was an ingredient too far – a fairly unanimous consensus. The difficulty was; which element would one remove? Every combination of 3 parts (one being the rillettes, naturally) was very good. My personal vote went for apple and black pud. I will be typing up the recipe soon and I invite your thoughts.

For our main we made slow roasted pork belly. I know: not that original, but when you get that crunchy crackling out it is just a no brainer! We served it with a mustard and garlic cream sauce and some sautéed cabbage. The bit we played with here was the spuds. We tried two different ways to make potato fondant.

The first is the lazy man’s version. You put your potatoes under this lovely, fat-laden cut of pork along with a large amount of chicken stock and let them ‘roast’. The idea being that the potatoes absorb the stock and all that flavour from the pork as it drips over them. The result is disappointing. The potatoes end up with a thick, rubbery ‘skin’ and paled in comparison to the second, more traditional version.

The alternative resulted in utter heaven. Again, I’ve written up the recipe and you have simply got to try it (to be published any minute now!). In a nutshell, these potato fondant are gently fried in copious amounts of butter, you then add chicken stock (preferably brown), cover and let them simmer until they are cooked through. The recipe we used came from those two Hairy Bikers and was positively delectable – personally, I couldn’t get enough of the rich, sticky ‘sauce’ left in the pan. Let me tell you: a slice of bread did that justice!

Results and Conclusion

I must say, for our first official gathering, it was a success. Jim McJim and I learnt a couple of new recipes, tried a couple of new ingredients as well as how to make the definitive potato fondant. It would be fair to add that the fun has only just begun with pigs trotters; we’ve since looked into some amazing sounding recipes (eg rolled and stuffed with black pudding – nom nom nom!) and are very much looking forward to revisiting them in a dedicated Experimental Wednesday.

All the recipes will be published in due course, I promise, so keep an eye on the blog, my tweets or subscribe for email updates.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2010 12:17 pm

    This all sounds AMAZING. Photos please!

Trackbacks

  1. Two Ways for Fondant Potatoes « FoodslashTech
  2. Pigs’ Trotter & Cider Vinegar Rillettes « FoodslashTech
  3. Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Garlic and Mustard Cream « FoodslashTech
  4. Experimental Wednesday #2 « FoodslashTech

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