By Ashley Heath
Cheap and cheerful: trotters comeback
Cheaper cuts of meat are making a comeback at Wiltshire's meal times.
Pig's cheeks, chitterlings and oxtail are being looked on as a bargain worth buying by cooks working to a budget.
Once seen as 'not good enough', these cheap cuts are seeing increasing demand at the county's butchers.
I looked more closely at the phenomenon and challenged a Salisbury bistro to come up with a recipe that even the most nervous home cook might attempt in their own kitchen.
Pritchett Butchers are in Fish Row in Salisbury. The window is full of the usual fare you might expect, as well as some you might not.
100 a week
Mark Aldridge is the owner. "When we put pigs trotters in the window, tourists sometimes stop and take photographs. They think it's really novel!"
Mark Aldridge: "Tourists love to see trotters in our window."
What's also novel is how the humble pigs trotter, and other cheaper cuts of meat, are making a comeback.
Mark said "They're getting more and more popular, increasing every day. We're selling 50 to 100 trotters a week now, on average, 25p each, so they're not expensive to buy.
"And you get a lovely flavour out of 'em."
That may be so but riding high in my mind was the question of how you can be sure that the pigs foot, in contact with all that comes with a farm yard, is actually clean enough to buy once it's in the butchers shop.
"They're clean", said Mark. "When they're at the abattoir, the trotters go into a hot tank, and beaters to remove the hairs and then they get washed again, so they come up really clean."
Buying trotters isn't a problem then but what can you do with them? To help us answer that question, BBC Wiltshire enlisted the help of the LXIX Bistro in Salisbury's Castle Street.
LXIX: Andy Griggs and Josh Colman
Andy Griggs is the owner, and Josh Colman is his head chef. Together, they came up with a recipe that we can all try, to see if we like pigs trotters.
Andy thinks that this rediscovery of pigs trotters is purely generational. "The modern generation, only familiar with supermarket cuts, aren't being exposed to more traditional cuts, which very often go to waste", said Andy.
Josh is the head chef and believes that pigs trotters are an essential part of cooking.
"If I didn't have pigs trotters, I couldn't make the stocks that I do," said Josh. "I always have to have them; that's what I mainly use trotters for. They're just brilliant, they give a jellified thickness to your gravy."
First time Trotter: Josh tries his own recipe
"But have you tried trotters as a dish yet?" I asked. "No" was Josh's answer, which made the tastiness of his own recipe all the more interesting!
Once he'd eaten his own recipe, Josh seemed impressed. "Very nice, very tender", he said.
As for the future of pig's trotters, it seems their popularity is assured. It's now a case of whether that will drive up prices. Andy thinks it will.
"We tend to see a hike in price, as we did in the last recession with pig's cheeks for example, especially when celebrity chefs get hold of something," he said.
So, not so much a case of 'get them while they're hot, but cheap!"
LXIX Bistro's Plat Del Trotteur
Josh Colman's recipe for pig's trotters
2 pig's trotters
4 large potatoes (Maris Piper preferably)
1 large cooking apple
1 head of broccoli
1 pint of cider
1 pint of red wine
1 pint of beef stock
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 dessertspoon of Demerara sugar
50ml of double cream
Brown off the pig's trotters in a pan.
Add the cider, wine, beef stock and sage leaves.
Bring to the boil and simmer for two and a half to three hours. Remove the pig's trotters and reserve the stock.
Peel the potatoes and chop into half inch cubes. Place in water.
Peel and chop the apple. Cook in a pan with a little water.
Rub the Dijon mustard and sugar into the pig's trotters.
Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes.
Having preheated the oven at 180c / Gas Mark 4, oven roast the pig's trotters for 15 - 20 minutes.
Put the stock back on to boil and reduce to a nice grave consistency.
Heat the broccoli in water for three to four minutes.
Mash the potatoes, using the butter, cream and apple.