Sadly, MIL passed away last month and in, the process of clearing out her kitchen, I found half a dozen bottles of the special vinegar she used. I decided I would replicate her recipe.
Then I unearthed a twenty year old slow cooker, unused, in its original box. I am a fan of the pressure cooker and never cooked with a crock pot. But the pig’s trotters have to be simmered for hours and it seemed a good idea to use a slow cooker.
I discovered that the slow cooker is the perfect pot for cooking pig’s trotters. Just plug it in and let it cook all day long. The pork skin becomes soft and tender and the bones have fallen off. There is nothing to do once the ingredients are placed in the cooker. There is no burnt food or pots. The sauce didn’t boil over causing a mess on the stove. I’m a convert! I can’t wait to try other recipes in the slow cooker. I have in mind to cook white cut chicken and soy sauce chicken in the cooker.
Mr. KC said that cooking the trotters in a slow cooker is not the tradtional way. I countered that his late mother cooked them in a Le Creuset pot on the electric stove. How traditional is that?
The traditional way was to cook them in the large, urn-like clay pots over a charcoal fire but I doubt that many people do that. Anyway, how far back do we go for tradition? In the old days there was no electricity or indoor plumbing, let alone TV in the village in China. I doubt Mr. KC would go for that! My view is that I would use anything that works and is safe.
On to the recipe. It is really easy.
Pig’s trotters (the 2 hands and feet of a pig) about 6 lbs
2 or 3 bottles of Pat Chun vinegar
2 or 3 lbs of ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 package of brown slab sugar
Peeled, hard boiled eggs, as many as you like.
2. Make a ginger syrup by melting the sugar in about a cup of water. Add the pieces of ginger and cook for about 20 minutes. Or cook the syrup in the microwave for about 10 minutes.
4. Turn on the slow cooker and let it do its job. The trotters are ready when the skin is soft and the sauce has a gelatinous quality to it.
5. Put the peeled, hard boiled eggs in the sauce and simmer them for a few hours. You may add them at the beginning but I put them in after the meat had simmered for a couple of hours. Mr. KC and his family love these eggs. The eggs sit in the sauce for a day or two to absorb the flavours otherwise they consider them to be too “fresh”. I never eat them as I dislike eating eggs with the grey ring around the yolk.