Pig's feet are part of many cultural dishes, but the preparation varies depending on the region. However, because it has so much thick skin and connective tissue, this meat should be cooked slowly over low heat so that it has a smooth consistency.
Baked pig's leg (recipe from the south of the United States)
Makes from 4 to 6 servings:
- 4 pig's feet cut lengthwise.
- 2 chopped celery stalks.
- 2 chopped onions.
- 2 chopped garlic cloves.
- 2 bay leaves.
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt.
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of ground black pepper.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 ml to 30 ml) of red pepper flakes.
- 1 cup (250 ml) of white vinegar.
- 1 to 2 glasses (250 ml to 500 ml) of barbecue sauce.
Roasted Pork Leg (Chinese recipe)
Makes 2 to 4 servings:
- 2 pig's feet cut into 4 to 6 pieces each.
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of cooking oil.
- 7.5 cm ginger root peeled and chopped.
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped.
- 1 chives (only the white part).
- 3 to 5 dried peppers.
- 1 star anise.
- 3 blackheads.
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of soy sauce.
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of sake.
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of sugar.
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of salt.
Pork foot gelatin (Eastern European recipe)
Makes 4 servings:
- 6 feet of pig cut lengthwise.
- 2 garlic cloves.
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt.
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of ground black pepper.
Preparing the pig's feet
Step 1. Wash the pig's feet under cold running water
With the help of a vegetable brush, remove any dirt residues on the surface of the food.
Dry the pig's feet with paper towels before proceeding
Step 2. Burn the fur
Light a small, unscented candle. Hold each pig's foot carefully over the flame, rotating the food periodically to burn as much hair as possible.
- If you have a gas stove, use the low heat from one of the burners instead of the candle.
- Regardless of the method chosen, it is important that the flame be relatively small. There is a risk of burns when using larger flames. Also, avoid putting your hand near the fire while burning the pig's feet.
Step 3. Scrape or remove remaining hairs
Examine the pig's feet and, with the help of a disposable razor blade or clean tweezers, remove any hair that has not been burned.
- The blade will remove hair more quickly, but only from the surface of the foot. The tweezers will remove all the hair, even the portion under the skin.
- After removing the hairs, the pig's feet will be ready for preparation.
Method 1 of 3: Baked Pork Leg (southern US recipe)
Step 1. Season the pig's feet
In a large pot, add the pork feet, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and white vinegar.
- Wash and remove the hair from the pig's feet before putting them in the pan.
- Use a sturdy spoon to mix the ingredients after adding them to the pan.
Step 2. Add water
Add water to a level of at least 5 cm above the pig's feet. Heat the pan over medium/high heat.
Wait for the water to boil
Step 3. Leave on fire for two to three hours
When the water boils, cover the pan and let the pig's feet cook over medium/low heat until they reach a smooth consistency.
- Leave the pig's feet on the fire. Stir the water periodically, removing the foam accumulated on the surface.
- When done, the meat should have a very soft consistency, almost falling off the bone.
Step 4. Heat the barbecue sauce
Before serving the pig's feet, pour the barbecue sauce into a separate skillet and heat it over medium or medium/low heat.
- The sauce should be served slightly warm. It may bubble up during heating, but don't let it come to a full boil.
- Ideally, the sauce should start to heat up during the last ten minutes of cooking the pig's feet. If you cannot accurately time it, wait for the pig's feet to be ready before starting to heat the sauce. Remember to remove the meat from the heat to prevent it from overcooking.
Step 5. Drain the meat and place it in the sauce
Remove the pig's feet from the water using a pierced spoon. Place each pig's leg in the hot barbecue sauce and turn to soak thoroughly.
If the skillet is big enough, add all the pig's feet at once. If not, add them individually and transfer them to a plate afterwards
Step 6. Serve hot
Serve the pig's feet immediately to enjoy them to the fullest. You can also serve barbecue sauce on the sides of the dish if you wish.
Method 2 of 3: Roasted Pork Leg (Chinese Recipe)
Step 1. Cook the pig's feet
Place the pig's feet in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat and cook for approximately three minutes.
- Clean and remove hair from pig's feet before cooking.
- Leaving the meat in boiling water will help remove some of the smell, preventing it from getting into the liquid that will be used during the main cooking of the recipe.
Step 2. Drain the water and separate the meat
After cooking the pig's feet, remove them from the pan with a pierced spoon. Set the meat aside for later use.
Discard the water. The water used to cook the pig's feet should not be reused for the rest of the recipe
Step 3. Heat the oil
Pour cooking oil into a large, deep wok pan. Heat over medium/high heat for about one minute.
- The oil will be brighter and thinner, which will facilitate its distribution to the bottom of the pan.
- You can use other types of large pan if you don't have a wok pan.
Step 4. Fry the aromatic ingredients
Add the chopped ginger, chopped garlic and chives to the oil. Cook for a minute, stirring frequently. Then add the peppers, star anise and cloves. Fry for another two minutes.
- Stir frequently to prevent ingredients from burning. The mixture should only be cooked until it releases the smell and flavor of each ingredient.
- The ideal amount of peppers can vary depending on taste. Use three dried peppers if you don't want the food to get too hot. If you prefer more spicy dishes, add five peppers.
Step 5. Add the pig's feet to the remaining ingredients
Add the dried pig's feet, soy sauce, sake, sugar and salt to the pan. Pour in enough water to lightly cover the pig's feet.
Bring the broth to a boil, stirring slightly while it cooks
Step 6. Cook until meat is tender
Cover the pan and lower the heat. Let it cook for approximately two hours, or until the meat has softened to the point where it starts to come off the bone.
- Stir the contents of the pan every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent the meat from burning and sticking to the bottom.
- The sauce will eventually thicken. If this happens when the pig's feet are still not cooked, add more water (250 ml at a time) and continue cooking.
- If the sauce still feels thin when the pig's feet are done, remove the lid and raise the heat to medium level. Continue cooking until sauce reduces and thickens.
Step 7. Serve hot
Transfer the pig's feet and sauce to individual dishes and savor the meat while it's still hot.
Method 3 of 3: Pig's Foot Gelatin (Eastern European Recipe)
Step 1. Blanch the pig's feet
Place the pig's feet in a deep pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium/high heat and cook for another two or three minutes.
- Clean and remove hair from pig's feet before starting.
- Boiling the pig's feet will help reduce the strong taste of the meat a bit.
Step 2. Drain the water
Drain the water from the pig's feet and put them back in the pan. Add fresh water to a level of 2.5 cm to 5 cm above the meat. Cook over medium/high heat.
Step 3. Season and boil the pork feet
Add garlic, salt and pepper to the water over the fire. Wait for the water to boil.
A foam will begin to form on the surface when the water boils. Remove it with a spoon before proceeding
Step 4. Cook until meat is tender
Reduce heat to low and cover pan. Let the pig's feet cook for three to four hours, or until the meat is tender enough to start to slough off the bone.
Continue to remove accumulated foam periodically. When the pig's feet are done, the broth should look clean
Step 5. Remove the bones
Pour the contents of the pan into four dishes. Use tweezers to carefully remove the bones from the meat as you distribute them between plates.
- Each dish should contain an equal amount of meat and stock.
- Allow the food to cool to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
Step 6. Refrigerate the dishes
Place the dishes in the refrigerator and let them cool for at least two hours, or until the mixture has a gelatinous consistency.
- Bones, connective tissues and skin will fall apart during cooking. The by-product of these elements will give the food a gelatinous consistency.
- Cooling duration may vary depending on the amount of water used during cooking.
Step 7. Serve cold
Remove the gelatin from the refrigerator and consume the cold dish. You can serve each serving in the mold itself or cut the gelatin into slices before serving.