Pig's hooves
Credit: Taryn Kapronica

Unlike their European counterparts, American consumers aren't known for being open-minded when it comes to unusual cuts. Cuts beyond the loin, breast, rump, and shoulder are met with skepticism. That's why Reilly suggests "hiding the parts in things that are familiar to people." He finds that getting people to eat pig's feet in a blanket is easier than selling the idea of garnished hog hooves. The results are chewy and slightly sweet.

Braised Pig Trotters in a Blanket
(Serves about 8)

Ingredients

  • 4 pig trotters, cut off at shank
  • Lard for browning
  • 3 onions, large dice
  • 3 carrots, peeled, large dice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 inch piece of unpeeled ginger root
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 clove
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup pork lard or vegetable oil

Crepe Ingredients

  • 9 oz milk
  • 4 1/2 oz all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 1 oz melted butter

Preparation

Leaving the skin on, season the trotters generously with salt. Heat the lard in a wide-bottom pan, and brown the trotters well on all sides. Remove them from the heat, and place them in a large ceramic roasting pan. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover with foil, and place in a 325°F oven for 3 1/2 hours to braise. Remove from the oven and allow the trotters to cool in the braising liquid. When cool, shred the meat off the bone, then discard all of the skin and bones. Next, skim the fat off off the braising liquid with a two-ounce ladle. When the fat is removed, strain the braising liquid into a medium pan, and reduce it until two cups of liquid are left. This will be used to flavor the dish in the final step.

Crepe Preparation

For the crepes, combine all ingredients and whisk until no lumps remain. Allow the batter to sit overnight. When ready, cook the crepes in a nonstick pan. Place a small amount of finished trotter on each crepe, and roll each like an enchilada; pour the reduced liquid over the top.