So when I find out that the August challenge was Binding. I got excited. Participants were challenged to either do: The apprentice Challenge: Make a Liver Terrine or a Fish/Seafood Mousseline, or go for the Charcutiere Challenge: Make Headcheese, feet, or Trotter Terrine. Since I lack the storage space for an entire pigs head, I went with the Trotters. I gave a call over to my buddy Mark, at Newman Farms Heritage Berkshire Pork . And as soon as I mentioned trotters, he gave me the traditional Mark line "I have a deal for you"!! I went there to only get a couple trotters and Mark used his Jedi mind tricks on me, I left with twelve trotters, eight pounds of pork belly, and five pounds of pig livers. He's good. Okay back to the task at hand. If you look back to my previous post, Primals The trotter is the pig foot area. Look at diagram below.
I remember as a child my grandmother used to love pickled pigs feet. now I know why they are delicious. First order of business here is a dirty one. I know we are making what you could call Toe Cheese, instead of Head cheese. But these litter buggers have to be cleaned well. Started by torching off any of the apparent hairs, then shaved the tricky areas(don't tell my cousin, but his razor worked great). And of course get any of the nasty bits from between the toes. Below is what you should have. Fancy piggy feet.
Mise en place, this is a fancy french term for getting your S#&T together. See Below.
- 8lbs/ 3629g Pig Trotters approx. 6-8 trotters
- 1 1/2lbs/ 681g Pork belly cubed
- 2ea Onions approx 250g
- 2ea Leaks approx 375g cleaned well
- 2ea Carrots approx. 200g
- 3ea Celery Stalks approx 116g
- 1ea Head of Garlic approx 36g cut in half
- 1bunch Thyme approx 20g
- 2ea Bay leafs
- 2Tbs Coriander seeds
- 2Tbs Fennel seeds
- 2Tbs Tellicherry Black peppercorns
- 1Tbs Brown mustard seeds
- 2Cups/16floz white wine
- Kosher salt, enough so that your water tastes like the ocean, salty but not to much
- After Cleaning the trotters Roughly Chop your vegetables and pound all of the spices in a mortar.
- Add all ingredients to a Large stock pot. Add enough water to cover by about an inch, salt the water to the taste of the ocean, cover the pot and simmer for 3 hours until the trotters are tender and have just about fallen off the bone. They will look like they exploded. Make sure during the simmering that you skim any of the scum that floats to the surface. I usually check every half an hour or so.
- When your trotters are full cooked remove them to a bowl. Then strain your stock into another pan. You want to reduce this liquid by 3/4. This is going to be the binder for the terrine. The trotters have so much natural gelatin it will solidify nicely.
- Next get your station set up before you try and dismantle these little pig part that seem to be made of lava. These have to cleaned while hot, due to the high collagen content, they will be way to hard and sticky when cool. I have a bowl for trotter meat and skin, another for waste and another set up with ice water to stop the burn. My advise as well is to wear a good pair of latex gloves, it will stop the complete removal of your finger prints.
- After all of the meat and skin is separated, chop the belly and the trotters to random size pieces. remember this is where your texture will come from.
6. Reduce your stock so that it will thicken nicely when chilled. Easy way to test is to put a small plate in the freezer until completely chilled. Then take a small spoon full of your stock and put in the middle of the plate. As you move the stock around the plate it should turn almost into a jello like consistency. Taste your stock!! This is your last chance to season your terrine. Do not forget when you serve something cold or at room temperature your seasoning needs to be much more aggressive. So if you think it is a little salty when hot it will work out great when cool. Pour enough stock over your meat mixture to fill the terrine. Fold your plastic wrap over and put your weight on top. If your terrine did not come with a weight plate you can cut a piece of cardboard and wrap in clear film and use that as well. Place a large can or weight on your terrine and chill overnight.
I served this with some homemade baby gherkins, pickled heirloom red onions, and Whole grain mustard. The terrine is very rich, unctuous and porky. You need that little blast of acid to really appreciate it. Check out the cross section below.
Next big benefit of making this terrine is the trotter gear. This porky jello, has so much damn flavor, and gelatin in it you can feel it on your lips for a while after eating. This is a great addition to finish a sauce, it will give a great sheen, flavor and mouth feel. I will never be without this in my fridge going forward. Look how beautiful it is.