Monday, June 23, 2008

Mission: Pig's Feet Meatball Ragout

So here we are, back again... and yet it feels like the first time we've ever been around.

We're going for the gold in the next two entries, presenting to you two recipes so unimaginably amazing that we're still not sure that we were actually able to pull either one of them off. One involved quite a bit of labor, planning, effort, and company - and the other was almost shockingly easy to construct and went down so well with a glass of champagne that we were nearly embarrassed to be eating it just ourselves.

In this entry, we present our attempt at Pig's Feet Meatball Ragout... a stunning dish, just the thing for a cold summer night in San Francisco. In the next entry, we will present Maple Pig's Feet... a wholly different thing altogether, an almost mysterious set of tastes from a simple set of ingredients.

We've kept you waiting long enough. It's time dive in. It's time to see if we can find, for just a moment, what it is about pied de cochon inspired Chef Picard so much.

Let's mis en place, shall we?

First, our shanks, having brined, along with some pig's feet stock for braising:


Second, the rest of the mis, for the rest of the dish, just so:


Now, we get started on the meatballs, having done our slicing and dicing and whatnot, using that big red wedding present that seems to be getting more use now that we've started up on this project:


And after everything was nicely combined, we formed the result into little balls:


Which we then set to heating on our big copper pan:


Meanwhile, we got started in the greatest use of stock in the history of stock. Follow along with us... first, we used the stock to braise the shanks, which we then put aside. Then, we strained the stock:


And used it to braise those yummy little meatballs:


Which we then put aside. Then we strained the stock again:


And took some delicious potatoes and boiler onions and stuck them in it:


And once these were done, we put them aside and once more strained the stock - maybe we should start thinking of it as a sauce at this point? - one more time:


And got the flour that we had been browning out of the oven:


And added it to the sauce, to thicken it up. At this point, everything went back into the pot and got all stirry and delicious:


Then, to make any sauce worth making, the addition of a small amount of butter:


And, once the butter was melted, and all things were heated through, we put it to plate (along with our old friend, the PorKrispy Treat):

Pig's Feet Meatball Ragout

And served it to ourselves and two of our test subjects friends.

And oh, my.

Hélène is quite right to love this. We loved this. Our guests loved this. Our dog would have loved to love this, but she didn't get any.

As you may imagine, this dish was almost overwhelmingly porky. (Braising everything in pork stock will do that.) It really was just right up on the edge, but still on the good side; according to us and to our guests. The little cornichon was actually a perfect touch, it cut through the dish wonderfully, and we all ended up having several of them with each bowl.

Note to selves: Do NOT attempt to reheat this on the stove. Jacob, wanting more the next day, stuck the whole pot on the stove to warm it up... forgetting a fundamental of cooking: do not put heat on a roux and walk away. The entire leftover was ruined (more than half the dish) because the flour, which we had taken such care to roast carefully the day before, burned; producing an intensely smoky and unpleasant flavor that permeated the entire dish.

(Jacob's shame and humiliation from this experience partially explains the long delay in posting the recipe publicly. But he feels that he must own this mistake, and embrace the lesson with both arms.)

Time, mis to eat:
A long, long time... more specifically, about four hours. Browning the flour took a surprisingly long time, but once it started to brown over it moved quickly... do pay close attention to this part.

Next up: Footy fun continues with PDC Maple Pig's Feet.

Blast From the Past: In what could possibly be foreshadowing: Onion Soup.

1 comment:

Dustin Jensen said...