Street Food Trotts On

I, unlike a few people I know, will try any food that I have not come across before.  The concept of utilising all the parts of any animal that I cook is very important to me.

A dish that has always interested me is from the great chef Pierre Koffman.  His dish of stuffed trotters has inspired many chefs to take on this outer edge of pork!

Also, being of Irish descent, and knowing the pig was an integral part of life was also a trigger to investigate what these porky digits may have in store for me!!Sight_2017_08_05_162024_724

I discovered a dish (or rather finger food) called the crubeen that needed investigating.

crbeen
Crubeen (mmm?)

The traditional Irish “dish” of crubeens  is in fact a snack. They are made by slowly cooking the trotters in a pot of stock with vegetables that were then left to cool then bread crumbed and deep fried. I do feel that it started as what is known as “chefs tips” where parts of the stock pot were utilised by the chef to make a cheap meal. All through the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, crubeens were, apparently, widely sold in Ireland as street food, and also as the quintessential bar food. Publicans would often serve big bowls of them right at the bar; they knew that the yummy, gummy, bacon-y, salty finger food would make the drinkers more thirsty for just one more pint. . In the 20th century, crubeens started to get harder to find in Ireland as people grew more interested in other more exotic or less rustic kinds of snack food (Potato crisps, pork scratchings.)

So I decided I would be foolish enough to try to replicate this dish of old!!!

I had some problems with cooking the trotters for this dish, number one, the look! Oh come on it does not look that wonderful! Secondly when I had cooked the trotters (sous vide) the things had become so tender they had completely fallen apart!Sight_2017_08_05_163641_967

There was no way I could breadcrumb  these!! I could not even pick them up. It all fell apart.

After some ,very quick, research I came across the recipe for  the French dish “Trotter Comesquis” which turns out to be a kind of refined (eat them with a knife and fork) version of crombeens! The final look of the dish is a bit too delicate for the men coming out from watching the local game of “hurling”. Eating them would still result in quite a thirst!!.

I tried this recipe out and wow the look of them was very good, cut into them and and and an unctuous liquid with the ingredient flowed out. The taste for me whilst not disagreeable needed more refinement as it was very “earthy”.

So to the recipe for “Trotter Comesquis”……

  • 4 pig’s trotters
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 100ml Beef stock
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 carrots
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50g of breadcrumbsSight_2017_08_06_121820_576

 

Take the whole trotters and seal in a vacuum packing bag with beef stock, garlic and thyme. Cook in a water bath at 71.5°C for 16 hours

Open the bag and take the trotter out of the bag being careful to reserve the liquor. Remove the trotter skin and slice into Julienne strips

 

Finely dice the carrot and celery, add to the trotter slices in a bowl. Add 150ml of the reserved cooking liquor and season with lemon and salt. Store in a oven dish approx. 20cm square in the fridge. The natural gelatine from the trotters will set the mixture into a wonderful gel.

 

Turn the mixture out onto a board and cut into cubes, roll in flour, dip in egg wash, then into breadcrumbs. Repeat this again then refrigerate uncovered overnight. This double coating will keep all the good stuff inside when deep frying later.

Sight_2017_08_07_204705_882
Prior to deep frying

Remove the cubes from the fridge and deep-fry at 180˚C for 3 minutes or until golden brown.

The final result was unusual, very earthy but beautifully unctuous .

I have to say I would change the use of the trotter skin to some finely diced pork and/or smoked bacon. The reason is I found the trotter skins not to be very pleasant!!

I really don’t think this will be making a comeback in Irelands pubs.

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