Friday, March 12, 2010

Chef Jules Stuffed Pig's Trotter, Zampone Recipe

Hello Friends;
As promised I have the Zampone recipe for you. Basically Zampone Ripieno, or stuffed Pig's Trotter, is the foot and shin of a pig, boned and stuffed with a highly seasoned mixture of ground pork and herbs. I also like to add lamb sweetbreads to the stuffing, braise them in the oven for hours and serve the Zampone on a bed of lentils or Fagioli di Spagna, (butter beans). Zampone ripieno con lenticchie, is a favourite of Modena and is often served New Years Eve, when it is thought to bring good luck. You may also come across a Cotechino recipe, which is basically a sausage casing filled with ground pork, taken from the trotter, with herbs and spices added. When researching this recipe it became evident that most  Zampone recipes are assuming that you use a pre-prepared, commercially made product, I was shocked and incredulous. I believe that you should know how to do a recipe the traditional and correct way, before you take short cuts, so let's do it !
Zampone Recipe Ingredients (serves 8)                                              
8 pigs trotters
350g pork mince
200g lamb sweetbreads
30ml olive oil
30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm water, drained and chopped
1 small onion chopped
6 cloves of garlic chopped
parsley, thyme, sage, teaspoon chopped of each
1 heaped tablespoon of pinenuts, toasted and crushed
1 egg
1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
Method for Zampone Recipe
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add 1/2 lemon, parsley stalks and sweetbreads. Cook for 2 minutes and run under cold water, drain and roughly chop in a processor.  
In a frypan add the olive oil, onion, garlic and cook without colour.
In a bowl add all the above ingredients, excluding trotters, mix well, cover and refrigerate.
With a very sharp boning knife, take the trotters and make a cut, underside and carefully remove the bone without cutting through the top skin, (as in top photo), working your way to the toe,which you can leave in.
Fill with stuffing, making sure not to overfill, and tie with butchers string, as in above photo. Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees celcius.
To cook and serve the Zampone
You will need;
1 litre of beef stock
1 cup of red wine
4 star anise
6 juniper berries
1 tablespoon of pickling spice
3 bayleaves
500g lenticchie di Castelluccio or Puy Lentils.

In a baking tray add the trotters and  enough beef stock to come 3/4's of the way up the sides. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil on the stove top, check for seasoning, cover and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours and 30 minutes, turning over once during the cooking process.
Now prepare the lentils by washing a few times and place in a pot with salt and bring to the boil. Cook for 20 minutes, drain and add 300ml of the liquid from the cooked trotters and cook further till the lentils have absorbed the liquid and keep warm.
Remove the string from the stuffed pigs trotters, slice through 3 or 4 times up to nail and serve on a bed of the lentils. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of black truffle oil just before serving to greatly enhance the flavour.
Chef Jules Tips
Other recipes, suggest that you cook the Zampone first, de-bone, and then fill it.
It really is worth trying my Zampone recipe, it may take a little more time initially, but the end result is far better.
Boning the trotter is a job best done at a leisurely pace,i.e not rushed and preferably with a nice glass of wine to sip on throughout the process.
Tell your guests what the dish is, after they have eaten it.
I hope you enjoy my Zampone recipe, it's well worth the effort. For those who might turn there nose up at the thought, I suggest you disassociate yourself from them, lol.
Ciao for now.

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