Here in Acadiana most butchers can provide you with all the pig parts you need. If you have a Latin grocery, they are also a great source for pork pieces. And, if adventurous, find the whole pig’s head and braise it for 2 hours to get the good stuff. I will be most proud of you.
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 6 to 8
2 pig’s jowls, butchered and cleaned
1 pig’s tail, butchered and cleaned
4 pig’s feet, butchered and cleaned
1 pig’s leg, butchered and cleaned
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup ground pork
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced green bell pepper
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup diced green onion tops
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 envelope clear gelatin, if needed
Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
In a bowl under running cold water, place the cleaned and butchered pork jowls, tail, feet, and leg portions. Rinse them and inspect to see that they are cleaned and free of any blood. Dry the pieces on paper towel, place them on a large baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Place the tray into the oven and roast for 1 hour covered. Uncover and roast for ½ hour more.
Remove the tray from the oven and let cool. With a paring knife, remove the parts and pieces of pork meat from the bones. Remove any large fatty pieces and discard. You should have at least 2 cups of pork meat. Dice the meat into small pieces. Cover and refrigerate.
In a medium size pot, add the water along with all of the pork bones and pig’s feet. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until about half of the water reduces, about 1 hour. Strain the stock and discard the bones and any other pieces. Skim any fat from the stock, cover and keep at room temperature.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ground pork and cook until browned and fully cooked, about 8 minutes. Remove the pork to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Pour off all but one tablespoon of grease from the pan and add the butter. Turn the heat to medium-high and when the butter begins to sizzle, add the onions, celery, carrots, and bell peppers. Lower the heat to medium and cook the vegetables until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and white wine, and cook until the alcohol in the wine evaporates, about 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the chopped rosemary, thyme, parsley, and green onion tops. Season with hot sauce, cayenne and white pepper. Stir to incorporate and taste the mixture. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Cover the mixture and refrigerate.
In a large mixing bowl, add the vegetable and herb mixture. Add the chopped pork pieces along with the ground pork. Stir the mixture to incorporate, making sure to break up any clumps of meat or vegetables.
In a large loaf pan coated with non-stick spray, add enough of the mixture to come to the top of the pan. Press down on the mixture to compact it into the pan and add more of the mixture if needed to fill the pan. Add the pork stock to the loaf pan until it comes to the top of the pan. Shake the pan gently to make sure the stock is surrounding all of the meat and vegetable mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For serving, remove the loaf pan and uncover. Check to see that the gelatinous stock has set firmly. (Note: If the stock did not develop enough gelatin from the pig’s feet and did not set properly, you should pour off the stock into a bowl and add 1 envelope of clear gelatin to the stock. Then add the stock back to the loaf pan and refrigerate once again.) Once the stock has set, slide a thin knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the mixture.
Place the platter on the table and serve with crackers or toasted bread rounds along with grainy Creole mustard. Ice-cold beer is a must.
The prep time does not include the refrigeration time (2 hours or overnight) it takes for the gelatin to set. Plan accordingly.