Kid just loves him some cows (komos) wrote,
Kid just loves him some cows

Cooking with a Butcher's Apprentice, Part III - Trotter Red Sauce

This weekend, driven by an urge to recreate a tagliatelle in trotter ragu I had on a visit to 'The City' last week, I found Nate Appleman's riff on Ragù alla Napoletana and provisioned. I grabbed a couple of trotters and a hock off the pork I started cutting last week, stopped at the grocery store for additional supplies, and had at it.

Should you have the urge to follow this path, you will need:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 T bacon drippings
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half across the middle
1/2 head of garlic, peeled
2 pig's feet, split down the middle
1 ham hock (smoked would probably be delicious, but mine was not)
2 28 oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
Some sort of flat noodley pasta
Plenty of time

  • Heat oil and drippings in the bottom of a large pot. Reduce heat to low, place the onion halves in the oil and cook slowly for roughly 45 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 15-20.
  • Meanwhile, pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands or some other handy instruments. Consider that this may turn out to be much less refined than what you were served in the restaurant. Stick blenders can be wonderful things.
  • At the end of roughly an hour of cooking, remove the onion and garlic and set aside for another use (I opted to use them to flavor chicken breasts that were thrust upon me as I left the shop, but that's a different story).
  • Add tomatoes, herbs, and porky bits to the pot and bring just to a boil before reducing the heat to a gentle simmer. Find something else to do while you wait four hours as the sauce cooks.
  • Cook for an hour more because you're crazy like that.
  • Once the simmer is over, remove the hock and reserve for some other use. (My plan is for a pork hash with sunny-side up eggs, but you may have other ideas.)
  • Similarly, remove the trotters and carefully pull the bones from the skin and meat. Discard these, and chop the remaining bits finely before returning them to the sauce.
  • Taste and season. Do not skimp on the salt.
  • Cook noodles and serve with the simplest of green salads.
  • Do not be surprised to see the leftovers turn into flavor jelly when it cools. Word of warning: this stuff is rich.


Something else of note: there's a new apprentice in this week, so while I am not necessarily on the All Beef, All the Time track that the two gents ahead of me are on, I'm also not the new guy anymore. To highlight this, my week so far has been prepping requested cuts for orders or in preparation for sales tomorrow rather than any sort of intensive instruction. It's all been about using what I know and refining techniques. That, and supplying the new new guy with lamb necks to de-bone. Poor kid.

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