Saturday, 14 April 2007

Slow cooked pig trotter and hock terrine

Serves about 10 as a starter.

2 pig's trotters, each chopped into 3 or 4 pieces
A 1kg unsmoked ham hock
300g fatty pork belly strips
2 small onions, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bayleaves
1 large glass white wine
1 tsp redcurrant or crab apple jelly
Salt and freshly ground pepper


I didn't ask the butcher to cut the trotters into pieces as I wanted to try out my new cleaver. Big mistake, I was hacking away for a while, so get your friendly butcher to see to this for you.

I made this in a slow cooker. I am a big fan of the slow cooker, especially where bones are concerned. The product is always that bit richer and I have been known to leave it running on the lowest setting for 24 hours. You could just as easily use a heavy saucepan or a cast iron casserole.

Wash the trotter pieces well being sure to clean between the toes (a strange sensation to say the least), then place in the slow cooker, along with the whole hock, belly, vegetables and herbs. Pack everything in as well as possible, then pour in the wine and enough cold water to cover. Turn on the slow cooker and run it for 8-10 hours. By now, the trotters will be tender and the skin should fall away from the bone. Remove the meat and set aside.

Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve lined with muslin or a clean tea towel into a clean pan. Bring to the boil, reduce by three-quarters, then stir in the fruit jelly. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required. You will need to add a generous pinch of good salt. Remember you're going to serve this chilled, so the flavour will be surpressed.

Pick all the skin and meat from the trotters, and the meat from the hock and belly. Here you can make a decision about how rustic you want your terrine to be. I chose to discard a lot of the skin and some of the fatty bits. On reflection, I think I was a bit heavy-handed as the terrine came out a little lean. Roughly chop the meat, skin and fat into pieces about 1cm square and put in a bowl. Stir in the prosciuto fat. Pour over the reduced cooking liquid, stir and check the seasoning again. Pack into a terrine (or several ramekins or a medium pudding basin), place a weight on top if necessary, then leave until completely cool. Chill for at least a few hours to set before serving (ideally a day or two).

Serve with crusty bread and your preference of cornichons, chutney and/or mustard.

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