KD found these pigs feet while shopping at the grocery store and decided to bring them home because they were “so pink and cute”. This left us with the dilemma of what the to do with these things. Remembering that we had sampled a tasty pigs foot stew in Puerto Rico at Wilo Benet’s restaurant Varita, we reached for his cookbook, Puerto Rico True Flavors. We found this recipe for “Patitas de Cerdo con Garbanzos” or Chickpea and Pigs Feet Stew.
The Ingredients are as follows, but we halved the recipe.
• 5 pounds unsalted pig’s feet
• 3 cups Goya Spanish tomato sauce
• 1 cup sofrito
• 1 cup Goya green olives stuffed with pimientos
• 4 cloves garlic, sliced into thin slivers
• 10 ounces chorizo, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
• 3 16-ounce cans Goya garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
• 2 ears of corn, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
• 4 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 1/4 pounds calabaza (Caribbean Pumpkin), peeled seeds removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 5 tablespoons salt
We started by boiling the pigs feet in a large pot, with ample water to cover, for about an hour and a half. The liquid should be reduced and the feet themselves will start to soften up. Next, the recipe calls for adding 3 quarts of water and the tomato sauce, garlic, olives, chorizo, garbanzo beans, sofrito, corn, potatoes and the calabaza to the pot. Since calabaza isn’t available to us on the Vineyard, we substituted butternut squash. We also used Goya Sofritofrom a jar, as we were unable to find the ingredients to make our own. We continued cooking for an additional 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes. At this point, the recipe called for reducing the heat, adding 5 tablespoons of salt, and simmering for another half hour. Keeping in mind that we were working with a half portion, we used less than 2 tablespoons of salt. After the stew had thickened, we removed it from the heat and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
With a rich orange color and bits of green and yellow from the olives and corn, the stew looked much more appetizing than expected. The aroma of the chorizo dominated, with a slightly smoky, spicy smell wafting from our bowls. The broth itself also tasted strongly of chorizo and was very salty. Perhaps a bit too salty. We used less salt than the recipe called for, but we also used a lot of canned goods and they could’ve contributed to the saltiness. If we were to do it again, we would skip the salting stage and just season the stew to taste. The chunks of pig’s feet don’t contain much, if any actual meat, but do contribute a rich porky flavor and some chewy bits of tendon and skin. The fat from the feet adds a bit of body and a nice sheen to the stew.
This is a very hearty stew, with all the meat and potatoes, but the chunks of corn add a nice bit of sweet crunch and the olives bring a touch of tanginess to help cut through. Although the pigs feet might seem intimidating, if you removed them after the cooking process was over, you could serve this dish to even the most squeamish friend without complaint. We found that they add a lot of flavor and body to the dish, but thought that they were still a tad rubbery to be gnawing on. This is a great example of home style Puerto Rican cooking, and an excellent excuse to bring home some pigs feet next time you see some in the store.
Check out Wilo’s Benet’s book Puerto Rico True Flavors
and other great cookbooks from Puerto Rico
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