Chicken in trotter jelly

by theshedlikesfood

I wanted to make something meaty. I knew it should involve jelly. Thank you Lithuanian Jotter for providing a welcome spot of direction, and Ginger Pig for selling me random bits of animal.

Trotters aren’t really for the faint of heart, or at least the faint of feet. I’m not a huge fan, aesthetically speaking, of the human variety so these porkers turned my stomach a bit.

See?

So, tackle the feet. You may wish to pour yourself a fortifying drink now, or you might want to wait until the foot-hair-be-gone debacle is over and celebrate then. Or perhaps you do both and pretend to be Anthony Bourdain guest-starring in My Drunk Kitchen. Anyway, put a large pan of water on to boil and de-fuzz them feets. You can try to remove the bristles with a flame but I found this ineffective and TOTALLY stinky so got busy with a razor, all the while cursing epilation attempt number one for making my flat hum so heinously. Try as I might, I just couldn’t remove every hair from in between the toes (srsly, BLEEEEUUUUGGGGH), but as I was going to strain the liquid to buggery at the end I didn’t panic too much.

Add the trimmed trotters to the boiling water, allow to boil again and bubble for five minutes. Strain, discard the liquid, refill the pot with fresh water and set to boil once more. Being a glutton for punishment I gave the trotters a final once over at this point, but to be honest it wasn’t pleasant and I’d fully support you in not bothering.

Par-boiled trotters. I repeat, BLEEEEEUUUGGGGGH..

While the fresh water is coming to the boil, prepare the vegetables and assemble the aromatics. Chop two ribs of celery and two carrots into thirds, quarter two onions and slice a leek into fat rounds. For aromatics I used five bay leaves, a sprig of rosemary, two star anise, a handful of parsley, lots of black pepper and 2tsp salt. Should you feel the need, place everthing in bowls and on plates, in order to give that newly-minted cookery show-type feel.

Once the water is boiling, add the trotters, veg and aromatics, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and leave the pot alone for two hours. I gave the pot the occasional poke with a wooden spoon but that’s because I’m an only child and felt left out. I’m sure it’s fine left to its own devises while you do something constructive.

I’d bought some raspberries in order to pay on my card at the greengrocer, and at this point I squished them into a vodka, swigged gratefully and gave myself a little pat on the back for being such a brave girl.

After two hours, pop in two big, free-range chicken drumstick thighs (the leg and the thigh together), ensure they’re submerged in stock and poach them gently for an hour – until the flesh is soft and cooked but not overdone. Skim as much fat from the top of the stock as you can.

When the final hour is up, strain the bits out and for CHRIST’S SAKE do not let your megawesome stock disappear down the sink with a momentary brain fart. Discard all solids with the exception of a couple of bits of carrot and the trotters and thighs. Strain the stock through a fine sieve several times, before putting it back on the stove on a fast bubble and reducing for ten minutes. While this is happening, pick the meat from the chicken and trotters, breaking any larger pieces down a little. Slice the carrot pieces into thin rounds. Taste the reduced stock and adjust the seasoning if necessary – it should be savoury and well seasoned, as the flavour can dull a little when it chilled.

Add a couple of tablespoons of stock into the base of four, small, Chinese-type bowls. Add a few bits of carrot, the meat, then pour in the stock until everything is just covered, pushing any rogue bits down if needed. Allow the jellies to cool before covering in cling film and placing in the fridge.

They’re ready! Remove the jellies from the fridge, run a flexible knife around the edge, invert and shake gently until they ffffffffffffffffffffftssss satisfyingly onto waiting plates. Garnish with coarse sea salt and serve with toast and something acidic – I used pickled shallots.

Silky poached chicken set in spreadable, flavoursome pork juice. What’s not to love?

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