When my husband and I lived in Columbia, South Carolina, we used to love to go to the Soda City Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. It might seem weird, but that was our date every week. We’d buy eggs, local pork, veggies, grass fed beef and butter. The guys who ran the pastured pork farm got to know us pretty well, and one morning the main farmer, Emile, was chatting with us a bit about making stock.
We had told him that we saved all the bones from any pork we bought them, and then we would make stock. His eyes lit up and he said, “Let me give you some feet! No one will buy the feet anymore, but they make excellent stock!” He then proceeded to give us a two-pack of pigs feet, also known as “trotters” and I went home that day and made stock.
Guess what? The farmer was right. There is so much collagen in the trotters, that it made deliciously thick stock, that also happens to be incredibly nutrient dense as well. I still always save any other pork bones I have to throw in the stock as well, but this past week I decided to roast all the bones and the trotters first to deepen the flavor. I also added in some leftover pork bones from chops that I had saved in the freezer.
When I was in culinary school, we learned to first roast beef or veal bones before making stock. Sometimes we would rub them down with tomato paste as well, but just roasting them would still create a deeper flavor. To the roasted bones, you then add carrots, onions, celery, and a couple of bay leaves.
You can get fancy if you want and add a whole herb sachet, but I personally think that this bare minimum works just fine. I decided to try and roast the trotters to see if I could get a richer, deeper flavored stock, and it was delicious! I immediately made a soup for dinner with veggies and sausage from the farmer’s market that I may share later this week.
You will see some recipes for stock that call for you to bring the mixture to a boil and then pour off all the water and start again — we never did that in school, and I never saw a chef do it in a restaurant, so I don’t. Sometimes I will make a “remoulade,” which is a second wetting of the bones. Basically, you take all the bones you have just simmered into stock and remake the stock again using the same bones. It makes a weaker, but still flavorful stock.
Roasted Pork Trotter Stock
A pair of pork trotters + any leftover pork bones you have
1 yellow onion cut in half, skin intact
2 carrots, chunked, but not peeled
2 stalks of celery, chunked
a couple of bay leaves
2 gallons of purified water
First Roast the trotters and the leftover bones at 425 for 45 minutes.
Add the bones, trotters, vegetables, and bay leaves to a large stockpot, and cover with 2 gallons of purified water.
Bring to a rolling boil, then lower to a simmer for a minimum of four hours, or for maximum results, overnight.
Strain and store in glass mason jars.