Trotter and foie gras torchon at The Berlin

Trotter and foie gras torchon at The Berlin

[ I’m sure that piqued your interest. ]

When is The Berlin like Berlin? When they cook with the metatarsal, if not the backbone, of Waterloo County fare and the stuff of Edna Staebler (sans foie, however).

I mean, just take a look at the “sauer sosse” or “gallrich” recipes from Staebler’s Food That Really Schmecks: in the latter, jellied pigs’ feet are salted and boiled until the meat falls away. The meat and spice mixture is then spooned into a loaf pan and chilled to set in order to be sliced.

For Gushue, the idea is similar — with the addition of foie gras. When you talk to him, you can tell how excited he is by the relatively simple process because of the tremendously delicious result.

Foie and trotter: sorry, a bit dark for pics (Photo: WREats).

“We braise the pigs’ feet whole with molasses, onion and salt for three hours and let them cool in the liquid. We debone them, lay them flat and press them before stuffing them with poached foie gras,” says Gushue.

The torchon — a traditional method for preparing foie gras is in cloth and then poaching gently in stock or goose or duck fat — is then rolled tight and rests refrigerated for a few days.

“That gives you your little pigs’ feet-and-foie sausage,” adds Gushue who serves them with some coal-roasted shiitake mushrooms, onion, some watercress and a bit of Toscano cheese. “They set up so firm you can carve them as thick or thin as you want. They’re delicious.”

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