Monday, February 13, 2006

Jamaican inspired pig tail stew


After feasting on pig trotters a few weeks ago, we decided to try other often forgotten parts of this culinary versatile animal. A week ago, we spent a few days in Toronto to meet friends, eat out and shop for delicacies that we could bring back in out camping cooler. Yes, we can be that obsessed with food.

One of our nicest discoveries at a Chinese grocery store in the suburbs of Toronto was pig tail. We almost bought pig snouts too but, since I should watch my diet a bit more closely said the doctor a few weeks earlier, we reached a compromise and only got the pack of pig tail. I had no idea how to prepare it at the time and to be honest my mind was just overwhelmed at all the other things we bought: tons of bones to make stock, great vegetables that we just can’t find in Ottawa, a mortar and pestle, etc.

The day after our return home, I started thinking about a recipe. I even googled a few combinations of the words pig, tail, recipe and stew but got very few interesting ideas. I knew I wanted to braise or stew the meat; I don’t believe there is any other interesting way of preparing this part of the animal. At some point, I thought about Jamaican ox tail stews and that was all I needed to select a few spices on my shelves and work with what I had in the fridge.

I first cut some aromatic vegetables (onion, celery and jalapeño peppers) to add flavour to a chicken stock made earlier with all the bones also bought in Toronto. To add more flavours I also added a few dried Mexican peppers (I forgot which exact type), garlic, well strained canned tomatoes, a few bay leaves, curcuma, all spice as well as the usual salt and pepper.

The chunks of pork tail were first browned in a pan; then the aromatic vegetables were added and everything else followed. Near the end, I also added large slices of carrots, a few florets of cauliflower and a can of broad beans.

The stew was excellent although the meat remained quite rich. I served it on a bed of basmati rice cooked with a few spices and a handful of raisins and a side of fried green bananas and lime wedges. I think the lime juice played an important role in cutting the richness of the stew and enhancing all the flavours; I would not serve this dish without adding such a touch of acidity.

1 comment:

penglobe said...

(my english is very bad, but my heart, not ;-) )