Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Trotters 'n' Turnip Greens with Pot Liquor ~ Soul Food!

     Roasted Pig Feet Simmered With Turnip Greens!
     Soul Food simply is old fashioned down home cooking!  Before the 1960's, Soul Food was just called down home country style food.  Southern food, poor folk food, farm food and country style food can all be called food for the soul, because a lot of good heart goes into the cooking.
     Soul Food really has no race, creed or color.  It does not matter who you are or what social stature you may have.  Soul Food puts meat on the bones and creates a good feeling inside.  This kind of food feeds the body and soul.  This is what good old fashioned down home cooking is all about!

     As one can imagine, not a drop of flavor is wasted when cooking any kind of down home style food.  In today's recipe, the broth that the turnip greens and trotters were simmering in is called Pot Liquor (Pot Likker).  Pot Liquor is not only loaded with flavor, it contains tons of nutrients that are easily digested.  Pot Liquor quickly rejuvenates a tired body that has worked hard all day and it helps to keep illness away.

     There is very little meat in pigs feet. The soft glutinous cartilage in pigs feet is nice to nibble on.  After slow simmering, plenty of the glutinous cartilage compounds are cooked into the broth. Gelatinous soft cartilage compounds actually build strong tendons, strong heart valves and strong joints.
     When selecting fresh Pig Feet, just look for ones that look plump and fresh.  Be sure that the pig feet have a USDA Stamp of Approval, because not all pig feet are fit for human consumption.  Some Pig Feet are sold as crab trap bait.  If the fresh pig feet are sold whole, be sure to ask the butcher to split them in half lengthwise.  It literally takes a meat saw to split trotters in half.
     Turnip Greens are full of minerals and nutrients.  Turnip Greens have a flavor that tastes like turnips and kale.  Turnip Greens cook do not require much time to cook and they take much less time to cook than Collard Greens.
     Classic Soul Food requires very little seasoning.  The seasoning of today's recipe is very basic.  The caramelized onions almost completely melt into the pot liquor after slow simmering.  One small jalapeño chile pepper is enough to add a nice mild spicy flavor.
     Trotters 'n' Turnip Greens:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty portion.
     Step 1:  Place 3 pig feet halves on a small roasting pan, with the skin side facing down.
     Add enough water to the pan, so that the water is halfway up the sides of the pigs feet.
     Season the pigs feet meat with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of of these spices on the pig feet:
     - cayenne pepper.
     - garlic powder.
     - onion powder.
     Step 2:  Slow roast the pigs feet in a 275ºF oven.
     Flip the pig feet occasionally, so they roast evenly.
     Roast the pig feet till the meat is fully cooked and the skin turns a golden color.
     Take the pan out of the oven and set it aside.  Do not discard the broth!
     Step 3:  Heat a large sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of bacon grease.
     Add 1/3 cup of small chopped onion.
     Add 1 chopped garlic clove.
     Add 1 chopped green onion.
     Sauté till the onions are a golden brown color.
     Step 4:  Add 1 chopped seeded small green jalapeño pepper.
     Add the roasted trotters and the roasting pan broth.
     Add just enough water to cover the trotters.
     Add 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar.
     Simmer till the onions are tender enough to just about melt into the broth.  Add water as necessary.
     Step 5:  Trim 1 bunch of washed turnip greens.  (Cut off any thick fibrous stalks and tear off any bruised or damaged leaf parts.)
     Place the turnip greens in the pot.
     Stir till the turnip greens wilt.
     *Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 6:  Cover the pot with a lid.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer the turnip greens till they are very tender.
     Step 7:  Remove the pot lid.
     Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce the pot liquor, till only about 1 cup remains.
     Keep the Trotters 'n' Turnip Greens warm over very low heat.
     Place the trotters on a shallow plate or shallow stew bowl.
     Place the turnip greens on the center of the plate.
     Pour the pot liquor over the greens.
     Delicious healthy Trotters 'n' Turnip Greens!    

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