Unctuous Potential

Sort of a strange thing to make when the weather is finally season-appropriate, but for some reason I had a hankering for a freezer full of wobbly pig reduction. So I betook me to Fleisher’s and hit Josh up for whatever lower portions of pig legs he had lying around. The recipe calls for Madeira, but I used a simple white so it would be more neutral in flavor. And the aromatics all came from the garden, which is just far enough along to furnish us with such things, albeit on the small side.

After a quick blanch of the legs and feet, I threw them back in a clean pot with the vegetables and covered them with the wine and some chicken stock I had made the night before from a mixture of leftover bones and fresh wings. The theory of this concoction is basically to double down on the gelatin and end up with a wickedly wiggly substance that adds unctuositivitudinousness to a wide variety of dishes.

I let it go at a bare simmer, skimming a few times, for about six hours. One is supposed to shred the meat and add it back to the strained broth, keeping it all together, but I separated the shreddy meat out and will use it for a terrine in the near future (bound, no doubt, with the gelatinous goodness that sits beside it in the freezer.) I almost remade the thing from Keller’s Bouchon that I made for TNS, but I stayed true to the original purpose.

Some I decanted as it was, and some I let reduce by half for extra richness. The result? 6 liters of wobbly wonder, frozen in a variety of sizes; our two ice cube trays add up to a liter, so I filled a bag with cubes to toss in a sauce or for deglazing anything that will want extra lip-smackery. The larger containers will give us surpassing braises in the cooler weather down the road. I don’t have any pictures of it, but if you try really hard I bet you can imagine what containers of broth look like.

It’s funny, because by complete coincidence the following night I ended up making another of the dishes that made Fergus Henderson famous. Milo had come with me to the butcher, and he loves marrow bones, so when he saw the big ones that Josh had canoed on the bandsaw, well, we had to have them. And since the parsley was going off in the garden, it was all worked out. I messed with the parsley salad a bit, adding extra oil and making it a bit more chimichurri-esque (because we loves us that sauce) and it cut through the rich roasted marrow beautifully.

Though it could have stood with some emulsifying like last time, since the oil leak always bugs me. This, a salad, and a soup thickened with leftover couscous infused with the goat and prune tagine from the night before made a pretty stellar dinner (the soup was made with the goat bones).

4 comments to Unctuous Potential

  • Jo

    I'm ringing OED right now to add this one:unctuositivitudinousness

  • Zoomie

    Milo, Milo, Milo, you are a constant amazement to me.

  • racheleats

    I can imagine the stock and I wish I had some tucked away in my freezer but I don't as I am lazy and didn't make stock last night or any night recently.
    Bloody hell you eat well in your house and dem bones dem bones look about as good as it gets.
    You are very very inspiring (and that is not a 'you leave a comment and thus so do I blog networkworking compliment but a real one)
    but hey shouldn't you be painting or something, I mean really, all this skimming and home grown aromatics business.

  • Jen of A2eatwrite

    I'm blitzed by your constant sense of creativity.

    Where did you learn all this meat-handling? Meat still flummoxes me in a lot of ways, as I was mainly vegetarian for years by preference.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

Rage Against The Vitrine

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