Things are a little foggy, but I remember Oliver from North Woods Ranch asking me if I had played around with cooking pig's feet. I began to answer, but then his wife, Jodi, blindsided me when she unearthed a monstrous hog's trotter from the deep freeze. This foot was the size of stout oak log, one you'd expect to burn long and hot on the fire. Star struck, I had to have it.
For a monstrous, over-the-top animal part, I went to a recipe for a chef who's known for over-the-top, especially when it comes to pig's feet. Martin Picard runs Au Pied de Cochon ("The Pig's Foot") in Montreal. Their signature item is a foie gras stuffed pig's foot, and it was this recipe that I used as a base-line for dealing with this hunk of hog. I decided to stuff it with minced pork, garlic, and rosemary, rather than foie gras, as the foot put me in the mood for something rustic rather than elegant.
But before I could get to the stuffing, I needed to deal with getting the bones out of the foot. Many offal-centric cookbooks equate boning out a pig's foot as rolling off a woman's stocking. My guess is that they're trying to make something rather surgical and (for some) grisly, into something light and fun. I, for one, think my wife might not be too thrilled if I approached her with a knife and bone saw, muttering "let's get you out of those tight shoes...."
Honestly that was the hardest part of this entire dish. Next I rubbed salt and pepper inside the foot and stuffed it with ground pork, garlic, and rosemary. I tucked a flap of skin up to cover the stuffing at the end, then wrapped the entire trotter in a tight binding of cheese cloth. I placed it on a raised trivet so the stock could circulate around and under the foot, and then covered the entire bundle in vegetable stock. This poached for about 6-7 hours until I could easily pierce the skin with the knife.