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Pigs’ Trotter & Cider Vinegar Rillettes

March 22, 2010

Pigs’ Trotter & Cider Vinegar Rillettes with Parsnip Purée, Star Anise Fried Apple and Black Pudding.

OK, so the idea with any recipe from Experimental Wednesday #1 – as I may have mentioned before – is for you to play with this; I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas about how to improve this further. Be they actual experimentations around the theme, or exercises in thought experimentation; I welcome them! I have made a couple of minor changes that I think improve the dish.

Why, you ask, does this recipe’s name include Cider Vinegar? Well, it’s quite simple. I have an apple tree and in my second year in the house, the lady and I decided to make cider. It was a wonderfully dry, surprisingly strong, still cider. We *may* have forgotten about a couple of bottles of it and to our great delight it had transformed into a lovely, light cider vinegar. Perfect for salads and dishes like this. My only fear is that I will never be able to find something to match this dry, slightly tart amber liquid. Shame.

You can find our thoughts about this recipe, its birth and some potential improvements in the first Experimental Wednesday post. A small admission; this was a bit of a recovery job as we found these totally uninspiring once we had boiled them clean, a bit like a Slice of Cherry Pie feels, so we moved on to the Rillettes concept.

This recipe served 4, comfortably, for a starter.


  • 4 Pork Trotters/Knuckles
  • 2 Parsnips
  • Black Pudding
  • 1 Eating Apple
  • 2 Star Anis
  • 2 Tsp Thyme
  • 2 Tsp Parsley
  • 1 Glug of olive oil
  • 1 Glug of Cider Vinegar
  • Chicken Stock
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 5 or 6 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Whole Pepper Corns
  • Single Cream
  • Butter

Get Cooking

The first thing to do is to par boil the trotters; put them in a pot of boiling, slightly salted water for about 10 minutes. Pour out the water and grime; I would suggest giving them a quick rinse under the tape here, too.

Next, we want to cook them in a liquor made of the stock, the onion, the cloves, the pepper corns. I boiled these for about 30 mins, rendering down most of the fat and cooking the meat through.

Parsnip Purée

Peel and slice the parsnips and cook in salted water until tender. Once they’re ready (they should break under the back of a fork), blend them into a smooth purée. You will need to add some liquid; use some of the liquor from the knuckles if it tastes OK. Otherwise, use some chicken stock. I like to pass purées through a fine sieve to get rid of any bits. Then check for seasoning, stir in a knob of butter and a tablespoon of double cream.

Pigs Trotter Rillettes

Now that the trotters are cooked, pick out the meat and a proportion of the jelly-like fa. This contains a lot of flavour and will help bind the rillettes, but is unpleasant looking! I would recommend a ratio of 20:80 fat to meat. Put it in a food processor along with the parsley, thyme, olive oil, cider vinegar and blitz it long enough to combine. I like texture in my Rillettes; we’re not making a paté after all.

Now put the mixture in a small terrine-style dish, cover it with baking paper and place some weight on it. Refrigerate overnight.

Star Anise Fried Apples

Peel and slice the apple. Grind up the star anise in a pestle and mortar and sprinkle it liberally over the apple. Melt some butter in a frying pan over a medium/high heat until it starts frothing. Add the apples and let them brown before turning them over. Please don’t be tempted to push them around the pan every couple of seconds.

Now slice up the black pudding and fry it until crispy round the edges.

Ready to serve

The presentation is totally up to you, but this is how we did it on the night. First, a dollop-and-drag of the purée across the middle of the plate. Then, 3 piles made of a slice of black pudding, with the rillettes on top. Finally, a halved slice of apple to finish it.

As I suggested in the write up about the Experimental Wednesday, I do think there was one too many elements to this dish, but which would you remove?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2010 3:35 pm

    I would remove the star anise but that’s just personal preference…. Other than that, sounds amazing!

  2. March 25, 2010 1:11 am

    Pig trotters and black pudding – hand me a plate!

  3. April 29, 2010 12:22 pm

    I’ve been eyeing up some pigs trotters (+ legs) at the local Chinese supermarket for some time. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • April 29, 2010 12:29 pm

      They are actually quite good. I’ve heard of a stuffed version with blackpudding, which sounds really good! Let me know how you get on with them. Cheers!


  1. Experimental Wednesday #1 « FoodslashTech

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