Growing up as a military brat I lived in many different places, but my mother always did her best to keep the food authentic in our home. No matter where we lived when you walk through the doors of our house you spoke Spanish and it was likely that rice and beans were going to make an appearance on the dinner plate. Of course rice and beans wasn’t all she would make, I have vivid memories of my mother preparing a stew of trotters or pigs feet and garbanzo beans. However, the vivid memory is not a positive one. I can only remember a few times that she prepared this dish, probably because when she did my sister and I would complain, stomp our feet and whine. Don’t get me wrong, the stew itself had a great taste but the whole cumbersome process of sucking on pigs feet was a total turn off to me.
The last time this dish was presented in front of me on a plate has to have been well over 15 years ago. That is how traumatized I was by the sight of my parents sucking on pigs toes. Then the other day I was at the Asian Market and saw a package of fresh pigs feet. Immediately the vision of my parents sucking on pigs toes popped into my head. Then it dawned on me that there has to be a more “refined” way of preparing this dish. I remember it having delicious flavor, I just couldn’t get over the hoof waving at me from my bowl. I swear they would throw gang signs up at me. So I took that package of pigs feet and some ham hocks and decided tonight we will dine on pigs feet and garbanzos.
I got home and formulated my game plan. I knew I was going to have to break the trotters down to avoid having them waiving at me from my bowl and utilize a little of the culinary techniques that I learned over my 14 months in culinary school.
Rinse the trotters under warm water and remove any tiny loose bones.
Heat a heavy pot over medium high heat, drizzle with olive oil and brown the trotters and ham hocks.
Brown the trotters and ham hocks in batches and transfer to a plate. Create a leaning tower of pork if you will.
In the same pot add half a small onion, small diced, 3 clove of mined garlic and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Add a little more olive oil if needed and cook until just tender.
Pour in 1 cup of white wine into the pot and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
Add the leaning tower of pork to back to the pot and add enough water to just cover the pork, bring it to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 hour. Go ahead and soak your feet in a hot foot spa and give yourself a pedicure while you wait. I mean the trotters shouldn’t be only ones to benefit from a spa treatment. After your pedicure fish the trotters and ham hocks out of the jacuzzi and set them aside to cool. Leave the yummy stock you just made in the pot.
While the pork cools peel and dice a small acorn or butternut squash to 1/2 inch cubes.
One whole green pepper finely diced.
Finely dice three small sweet peppers.
Finley mince 8 culantro leaves. If you can find cilantro’s cousin culantro leaves, use them if not you can use cilantro instead. I buy my culantro leaves at the Asian market.
Mmmmm…..chorizoooooo! Allow me to specify that you want to use cured hard Spanish chorizo, not the ground Mexican chorizo. Dice the chorizo into small little squares. Are you seeing a theme here yet?
More pork! Dice 4 slices of salted pork.
Pork money shot…..nuf said.
By now the stock has cooled a bit. Using a spoon skim some of the fat off the top of the stock. Once the pork has cooled enough pick off all the porky goodness from the bones. You want everything off the trotters and ham hocks except for the bones. Chop the meat into small pieces.
DO NOT toss the bones, there is still flavor in them there bones! Wrap all the bones in a big pouch of cheese cloth tied off with some butchers string.
Add the diced chorizo and salted pork belly to a hot skillet. Cook until some of the fat renders.
Add all your small diced aromatics to the skillet.
Add diced pork to the stock.
Add more porky goodness to the stock.
Drop in a big bag of bones and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
We are almost there, bear with me. Drain and rinse 2 cans of garbanzo beans.
Add garbanzos to stew.
Add remaining ingredients to the pot, acorn squash, diced potato, 1 can of petite diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Put the bag of bones back in the pot, bring to a boil, lower heat cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Using the back of a spoon mash some of the acorn squash. Stir and done!
Ladle into the biggest bowl you can find and enjoy pork, stewy, goodness!
I was so pleased with the results. It had all of the flavor and non of the hoof waiving. I can now say the I love to eat Trotter and Garbanzo Bean stew! If you want to add a nice little crush garnish take a plantain to the mandolin and cut into matchsticks, fry in hot oil and sprinkle over top of your stew. Soooooo delicious!
My husband was right with me when it came to this dish. He also had no interest in sucking on pigs feet, but when I gave him a bowl of this he went back for second and thirds. I know that there are some people that regardless if they have a pig hoof floating in there bowl or not, they can’t get over the fact that there are trotters in their bowl. But I encourage you to challenge yourself and try something different. I promise you will not regret you did.
Sopón de Patitas de Cerdo con Garbanzos (Trotters and Garbanzo Bean Stew)
- 1 1/2 lbs pigs feet
- 1 1/2 lbs ham hocks
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of wine
- 4 slices of salted pork belly, small diced
- 2 links of cured chorizo, small diced
- 1 green pepper, seeded and small diced
- 3 small sweet peppers, seeded and small diced
- 1 onion, small diced
- 8 culantro leaves, minced
- 2 lb acorn or butternut squash, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 15oz cans of garbanzos, drained and rinsed
- 1 large potato, peeled and small diced
- 1 15oz can of petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
- salt to taste
Rinse trotters in warm water and pat dry. Heat a heavy pot, over medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle trotters and ham hocks with salt and brown, transfer to a plate. Add onion, garlic and chopped cilantro, cook until just tender. Pour wine into the pot to deglaze pan, scrap all the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Return browned trotters and ham hock to pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, lower heat cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Using a slotted spoon remove pork from stock and set aside to cool, leave stock in pot. While the pork cools, heat skillet over medium-high heat, add chorizo and salted pork belly to skillet. Cook until fat begins to render, add green pepper, sweet peppers, onion and culantro leaves to skillet, cook until just tender. Once pork has cool pick off all the meat from the bones, using everything but the bones, dice meat and reserve the bones. Wrap the bones in cheese cloth and tie with butchers twine, making a pouch. Add dice meat, chorizo mixture and pouch of bones to the pot, bring to a boil, lower heat cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer another 30 minutes. When squash is tender remove pouch of bones and use the back of your spoon to mash some of the squash, add salt to taste stir and serve.12