Pigs feet in white wine were a surprise treat for my Maman. In France, Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 31rst.
Pig’s feet simmered in a rich broth for hours on end are not exactly the type of recipe one would prepare during the merry month of May or even someone’s idea of the perfect Mother’s Day gift. In this case, it was enough to make a Momma cry.
Comfort foods and Dutch ovens are more suited for Fall and Winter. But… a Dutch oven full of her favorite dish from childhood days was just what this doctor ordered as a special treat.
Vintage French Farm Animals
Now I fully realize that pig’s feet prepared in any recipe might not be everyone’s idea of a favorite dish.
I’ve seen pig’s feet in supermarkets as a snack food and if a recipe for pig’s feet can even grace the cooking pages of the New York Times, then they can’t be all that bad – right? In any case, these 2 pounds of pigs’ feet spent several hours slow cooking in a court bouillon.
The bouillon is flavored with lots of fresh thyme and bay leaves, along with onions, nearly a full head of fresh garlic, organic carrots, fresh curly parsley and a healthy amount of white wine. Because we’re French 🙂
She could not resist reaching for one in the pan to “taste” …just in case this country girl from the very same corner of France did not know how to prepare an authentic version. Really? Maman!
It is one of the simplest recipes to prepare. Once cooked to such an extent that the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, the pig’s feet can be served cold in their wine and herb flavored gelatin.
What is Maman’s preferred variation on the basic recipe? Pieds de porc à la Sainte-Menehould.
She removes the large bones and seasons the pig’s feet with a coating of Dijon mustard and seasoned bread crumbs. Then she tops them off with a pat of butter and broils or pan fries them until crisp and golden.
Here is the original recipe as prepared in our corner of France. It is French country cooking in it’s simplest form.
While this recipe is more of a "winter dish", in France, Mother's Day is celebrated on May 31rst and so, as a surpise and a treat for my Maman, I prepared a Dutch oven full of her favorite dish - pig's feet in white wine.
Clean the pig's feet and layer them evenly in the bottom of a heavy bottom Dutch oven.
Layer with the roughly chopped onions and dot with the cloves of garlic.
Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Cook on low heat (about 1 1/2 hours up to 2 hours) until the bones can easily be removed. Check regularly in case you need to add some water to the pan.
When fully tender, remove pig's feet from the pan and strain the broth if you are aiming for a clear gelatin.
I never bother to strain the broth. I've already removed all the stems from the fresh herbs. Nothing remains but the tiny leaves. No peppercorns to worry about as I use cracked pepper.
Place the pig's feet in a casserole serving dish. Top with the broth and refrigerate until ready to serve cold or to use in another variation of the recipe such a broiled with a crumb topping.
It takes about 24 hours for a dense gelatin to develop.
The video below illustrates one way to serve fork-tender pig’s feet.