Wait...Is That A Pigs Trotter?

Last night I cooked a pigs trotter.
There. I feel much better now. I know that you won’t all sit in judgement of me, particularly after your bolstering Tapioca comments.
The thing is, I have this nasty habit of buying offal based products, cooking them but being too squeamish to eat them. I have chicken livers in the freezer. I actually like liver but I haven’t ever eaten chicken livers and now I’m worried that they’ve been in the freezer for too long and that they’ll be all desiccated.
To be fair, I did think that the pigs trotter would be a little more appetising than it actually was. I could get over the little bristles on its ankles and the gelatinous rind if there was actually any sweet morsel of meat underneath. But there was nothing. Just gristle and bone. I know. I’m a coward but so is my husband! I put the trotter on his plate and I saw him just looking mournfully at it, thinking “I have to eat some of this to save face but I don’t think I can.”
And, he poked at the trotter and then ate some more of his dinner and then prodded the trotter, but not one morsel of trotter meat passed his lips.
Coney had a very tasty snack last night.
What all of this rambling preamble leads to though is really just an amusing side-note to last nights dinner, which was Jerk Chicken with Caribbean Rice and Peas.
You may recall from an earlier post of Pauls that he mentions my grandparents demanding Jerked Pork. In preparation for this feast (I have a wonderfully huge fillet of pork, bought from Well Hung Meat last month sitting in the freezer, just waiting to be jerked around), I decided to have a test run with the spice mix, ensuring it wasn’t too hot and so forth. What looks good cooked by Ainsley Harriott on TV might just be too much for them to stand in real life, after all, they are OAPs.
So, utilising my Elisabeth Luard book, the Latin American Kitchen, once again, I used her recipe for Jerk Seasoning with Allspice and applied it to a couple of Corn Fed Organic Chicken Breasts.
The spice rub consisted of quite a few ingredients, thankfully all of which I had in my overflowing drawers (no snarky comments, please), except for the dried onion and I simply replaced that with fresh shallot instead.
I love marinating food. I love squishing the bronze coloured spices into the raw meat, and the expectation of the flavoursome, juicy meat that follows is almost too much to bear.

But bear it I did. I prepared the spice rub in the morning, marinated the meat at lunch time and cooked it for supper, the rub turning the skin blackened and spicy, the meat remaining moist and toothsome.
The Caribbean Peas and Rice were made utilising another one of my samples from Natco, Pigeon Peas (also known as Gunga or Gungo Pea, Congo Pea and, rather charmingly, No-Eyed Pea).
The Pigeon Pea was first cultivated over 3000 years ago in Asia and Africa but didn’t reach the Americas until the dismal days of slave trading. They are still incredibly popular in India, and are usually served split, Toor Daal.
Like all legumes, the Pigeon Pea is nutritionally important, being high in protein and amino acids (including my husbands favourite, tryptophan).
In the Western world, Pigeon Pies are most famously seen in this dish, a traditional combination of the dried pea, Basmati Rice and Coconut Milk. Sometimes the rice is replaced with beans, sometimes some salt pork is added.
To shake things up a bit (and because it was taking up precious room in the freezer), I decided to throw in the trotter to add flavour to the rice and peas. I suspect that some salt pork would certainly have added better flavour and been more palatable but there you go.
Warmed up with a couple of Habanero Chilis (I put only one in originally, thought it wasn’t hot enough so threw in another for company – that heated things up somewhat) and seasoned with some dried thyme, onion, garlic and plenty of salt, it was a tasty way to serve peas and rice and a perfect, pale match for the chicken.
If you want to replicate the peas and rice at home, I think that you could omit the trotter without much recourse, although a chunk of ham wouldn’t go amiss. I would suggest a final sprinkling of some chopped spring onion to lift the whole dish though.
Spice Rub (this made more than enough for just the two of us, we put ours in a jar for future usage).
1 Tbsp. Ground Allspice
1 Tbsp. Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp. Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Ground White Pepper
1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
For the Chicken
1 Small Shallot, finely chopped
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
2 Organic Chicken Breasts, skin on (this is very important to ensure your chicken is moist)
Juice of One Lime (although I used lemon because I was out of limes)
Good slug Olive Oil
Mix together all the dry ingredients.
Place the chicken breasts in a ziplock bag a couple of tablespoons of the dry rub, the lime or lemon juice, oil, garlic and shallot and mix well. Leave to chill for at least 4 hours.
To cook, preheat a griddle until really, really hot and place the breasts (obviously removed from the bag), skin down on the griddle. Cook for about 15 minutes or so, turning halfway. You may need to turn the heat down a touch if the jerk seasoning looks as if it is going just a touch too black.
Serve with Jamaican Peas and Rice.
125g Pigeon Peas, soaked overnight or for at least 8 hours
125g Basmati Rice
1 Can Coconut Milk
2 Cloves chopped Garlic
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
Salt pork (optional)
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
Drain the soaked peas and place in a large saucepan with the dried thyme, garlic, onion and salt pork if using.
Cover with water, about an inch or so above the ingredients.
Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
After 40 minutes, stir in the coconut milk and the rice.
Replace the lid and cook for another 20 minutes or until the rice and beans are both tender.
Taste for seasoning, you will probably need a good couple of teaspoons of salt.
Serve with the Jerk Chicken and enjoy...


Lydia said...

I'll give the pig trotters a pass, but the jerk chicken, rice and peas sound wonderful. I've never had much luck with pre-packaged jerk spices, so it's nice to have a recipe for homemade spice rub.

ros said...

I may have got to the goat meat first but you've done even better in using a pig's trotter. I've seen these things at Borough and I've been intrigued but have horrible images of what would happen if the resident squeamish girly girl found it.

Brilynn said...

Jerk chicken used to be my favourite after bar food!

Kelly-Jane said...

Bristles?! Noooooooo! You were very brave to cook a trotter though. I couldn't do it - scardey cat that I am.

Your chicken and especially the rice and peas look lovely. Just thinking of rice and coconut milk makes me hungry.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

The chicken looks divine.
Don't think I'm up for a trotter. I used to have chicken liver a lot, the liver was also the part I wanted most on Sundays when my mom fried chicken!

Joyce said...

You gave me pause, initially. I couldn't imagine you were going on to describe the process and decry how marvelous the meal was with pig's feet. I assume that's what 'trotters' are. Thank goodness for jerk! Yes, smart to make up a batch as it's super on fish fillets as well and nice to have all made up. Good on popcorn, too!

Kathryn said...

Mmmm, that looks totally yummy!

Oh and I have eaten pig's trotter. I ordered it in Germany by mistake (I didn't know what it was). I really liked it. That may make me weird. I haven't contemplated trying it at home, though...

Kathryn x

s'kat said...

I've nibbled on a smoked pigs foot, but have never cooked one at home. Thanks for taking one for the team!

As far as the chiken livers go, do yourself a favour, and make chicken liver crostini! They will make a believer out of you. Promise.

Mary said...

My mom would lightly char the trotters over an open flame to "singe away" the bristles before cooking them. I'm not a fan the pig trotters but I do like chicken feet (dim sum style) and oxtails (beef bourguignon style).

Shaun said...

Freya, love - Clearly you and I are inclined to the same curiosities. Like you, cooking with offal has been almost a fantasy - mostly because I just haven't mustered the courage to buy any - livers I can do, though. I think that our cultures haven't embraced offal since the Industrial Revolution, so they have been classified as "revolting", even though our forebears and those of other cultures ate and eat them. You did buy the trotter, so you should have at least tried it to satisfy your curiosity. If you have the courage to do it again, please eat it: if you will, I will.

joey said...

The jerk chicken sounds delicious! Tasty rub there :) Would you know a good substitute for pigeon peas? It is an ingredient in this chicken pelau recipe I want to try, but I can't find them here...

Gattina said...

Freya, I got to make this rice, delicious!
I can eat trotter, liver or most organs as long as someone prepares and cooks for me...

wheresmymind said...

Can't beat a good spice rub!

Linda said...

this is a beautiful photograph!

Katie said...

I've never made nor eaten pig's trotters - but I've seen them often at tables next to me when we lived in Andorra. I did not watch to see what they did with them.
I can't give my dogs pigs ears, either....
The chicken looks great - I can do chicken...including the livers.

grandmacarnes said...

I like pickled pig's trotter, have never had it any other way. I craved it during pregnancy. It is something my mother ate when I was a kid, I developed a taste for it, but haven't had it in years.