Trotter gear forms the backbone of many of the dishes at St. John’s, the chain of innovative eateries founded by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver. One wobbly gelatinous spoonful will add an intense richness to any dish that needs that little something extra. This recipe comes from Fergus Henderson’s ‘Nose to Tail’, a great book that I would definitely recommend to non-squeamish cooks.
The original recipe advises you to shave the trotters with a razor, but I believe that the hairier the scratching the better so I decided to forgo this step.
It was also pissing it down with rain and the idea of walking to the supermarket to buy a disposable razor in order shave my food really didn’t appeal. I did briefly consider using my straight razor but decided against it. My flatmate’s hair removal cream wasn’t really an option either; even a Heston recipe wouldn’t say ‘marinate in Veet, garlic and olive oil for at least 12 hours but preferably overnight’.
Anyway. Throw all the ingredients into a big pan and simmer for around three hours. Draining the mixture, make sure you keep hold of all the stock at the end. You may also wish to give the garlic and onions a bit of a squeeze. You’ll need:
6 pig trotters (I could only get hold of 4, ask your butcher to split them)
2 whole onions (peeled)
2 carrots (peeled)
2 sticks of celery
2 leeks (split)
One bulb of garlic
A bundle of thyme
Tablespoon of peppercorns
Half a bottle of Madeira
Enough chicken stock to cover
As soon as the trotters have cooled down enough to handle you can start shredding them. Any gnarly bits such as bone etc. can be thrown away with the vegetables. Any meat, fat or skin should be chopped up and added back to the stock. Keep in a kilner jar in the fridge for use whenever you really need to meat up the flavour of a dish.
Trotter gear will also freeze, but it’s best to do this in small blocks so that you can bring out as much as you want whenever you wish to use it.
If you want to find out more about Fergus Henderson and the St. Johns group I highly recommend buying his book on Nose to Tail eating or alternatively go to the website at https://www.stjohngroup.uk.com/