Sunday Supper: Crubeens and Cabbage
Editor's note: Each Saturday afternoon we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.
To many people, Irish food begins and ends at corned beef, but if you're looking to spend today eating something a little different while celebrating St. Patrick's Day, crubeens may be just the thing. Crubeens are a traditional Irish dish of boiled pigs feet that are often served fried and eaten by hand. Removing the bones and stuffing it with mashed potatoes elevates this Irish classic Sunday Supper status while keeping it in comfort food territory. As an added bonus this recipe yields a nice pot of pork stock, which will come in handy for a big bowl of hot and sour soup the next morning if you overindulge in whiskey at your St. Paddy's celebration.
Like all other cuts of meat, it is important to get your trotters from a butcher you trust. A butcher's saw will need to cut the trotter lengthwise (toe to elbow), which can't be done at home. Make sure the trotter still has the hock attached so you have something to stuff if there's trouble removing small bones from the foot. If you can't remove them cleanly, add the scraps of meat, skin, and cartilage to the pan along with your bacon as you prepare your cabbage.
Caul fat is a very thin membrane of fat that surrounds the stomach of many animals. It may look a tad alien going into the oven, but it will melt into a crisp brown casing making sure the porky, potato goodness does not leech out during cooking.