Stuffed Pig's Leg

  • 600 g (1 1/3 lb) pork meat recovered from the leg
  • pinches ground allspice
  • dashes of Chinese cooking wine, dry sherry, brandy or cognac
  • 1Tbsp of crushed or chopped garlic
  • 50 g (1¾ oz) fat (butter, duck fat or pork fat)
  • 200 g (7 oz) red onions or shallots, chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground star anise
  • 1 indian bay leaf
  • 1 – 2 green onions (spring onions, scallions), minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce, divided
  • ½ teaspoon dark Asian sesame oil
  • Water chestnuts 6-8 pieces. Chopped
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) reconstituted black funghi. Finely sliced.
  • 120 ml (½ cup) reconstituted shitake mushrooms. Diced into 1 cm cubes
  • Black pepper, to taste, optional
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • chicken broth
  • 2.5cm (1 ") piece of ginger. Peeled and julienned
  • 100 gm (3½ oz) of a liver pate (pork, chicken or beef)
  • 1 larding needle
  • 1 candle (for heating the tip of the needle
  • 30 cms (1 ft) of butcher's twine
  1. Shave or singe any hair from the foot and between toes of the pig's leg.
  2. Rinse the pig's foot under cold running water for 10 minutes and dry thoroughly.
  3.  Remove the long bone and the meat of the leg keeping the skin intact, folding the skin down carefully as you work. This process requires firm but gentle manipulation. It is more easily done by forcing a smooth rounded object down between the skin and the muscles of the leg to separate these from each other. Then firmly pulling the skin down expose the muscle (meat). It's very important not to tear the skin or weaken it significantly.
  4.  When the skin has been rolled down, then the next part of the process is to remove the long bone with the meat. Locate the lower joint and  carefully cut into the joint and separate it from the foot. Pull the skin back up, cover and refrigerate the foot again. Don't allow the skin to dry otherwise it will become too difficult to work with.
  5.  Remove the meat from the long bone and dice it into 1 cm cubes (1/2 in). Include any tendon and fat that may be adhering. Place the meat into a separate bowl. This becomes the main constituent of the stuffing. The bone may be used for other purposes.
  6. The foot bones are left in place.
  7.  Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat until it begins to haze. Add 1 tablespoon of pork fat and the reconstituted mushrooms, making sure mushrooms are in 1 even layer. Let the mushrooms sit in the pan, without movement, for 30 seconds. Toss the mushrooms and repeat until nicely coloured. Sprinkle with salt and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove the mushrooms and set aside. Deglaze the pan with a splash of water or wine and pour over the mushrooms.
  8.  Reheat the pan over medium heat and add the rest of the pork fat. Add onions, stirring constantly so as not to form any color. Sweat the onions until they become soft and translucent. At this point, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add cubed pork meat and toss lightly until everything is combined; make sure the meat does not fall apart or you will lose some texture in the stuffing. Once everything is combined, add the pate, season with salt and pepper-corns, and turn the heat to low. As the collagen in the meat begins to melt, add the reserved black funghi, reserving the liquid for the sauce. Stir occasionally until everything is combined and evenly seasoned. Transfer stuffing to a plate and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  9.  Use a spoon to stuff half of the pig's foot with the Stuffing. Liberally salt the pate and place it inside the pig's foot at the junction between the foot and the created hollow. This adds a buffer and seasons the meat of the foot. Add the rest of the stuffing and pack tightly. Thread the butcher's twine through the needle and heat the tip of the needle over the candle; the hot needle will pass through the fat and skin more easily. Sew the pig's leg shut, tying it off.
  10. Poach the leg gently in a simmering broth for 1 hour.
  11. Carefully remove the leg from the broth and allow to cool before placing in the refrigerator.
  12. Serve in generous slices cut across the leg.