Trotter Confit

auiram carnisseria

auiram carnisseria

February 9th, 2016

When I’m in Barcelona, I look out for peus de ministre – ministers feet. They were for sale in the Auiram Carnisseria (the butcher above) at €4.70 a kilo and they are available in the Boqueria for a similar price.



I know peus de ministre sounds a bit weird, but ministers feet are actually pig trotter confit.

pig trotter confit

pig trotter confit

I assume that the trotters are salt cured for 36 hours or so with herbs and spices, as with duck and then they are cooked very slowly at a low temperature – the whole process preserves them. Before the advent of refrigeration and vacuum sealing, meat that had been cooked in this way was immersed in fat, which would keep it preserved for several months in a larder.

peus de ministre

peus de ministre

These vacuum packed trotters have a 3 month sell by date and can be heated up when needed. The flesh is already soft and succulent, having been previously cooked for several hours.

cooked trotters

cooked trotters

They can be warmed up in a hot oven for 30 minutes, or more quickly under the grill (broiler) and even on the hob in a frying pan. Unlike confit duck they do not release much fat, so beware of cooking them too long as the flesh starts to stick solidly to the bones.



I like to serve peus de ministre with puy lentilssee my recipe here.

trotters and lentils

trotters and lentils

Cook the lentils and then heat the trotters separately before serving on top. Peus de ministre taste so good that they can only be bettered by Pierre Koffman or Marco Pierre White’s trotters stuffed with foie gras.

The trotters go very well with a hearty glass of tempranillo, such as Real Compañía de Vinos.

About Mad Dog
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30 Responses to Trotter Confit

  1. jmcheney says:

    Your lentil soup looks good & I’m sure it is. I don’t think there is any trotter confit anywhere near here. (Asheville NC). My grocery store has uncooked trotters just packaged up in pairs & fours. I have never been the least tempted to buy them, though I buy their packages of pork neckbones for lentil soup. Is not so relatable somehow.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks! I’ve never seen trotter confit outside of Spain, but the fantastic taste does make me wonder why. Both my grandfathers loved raw trotters, cooked from scratch, but I didn’t get to try them myself until I was about 30. Even if you don’t fancy the idea of cooking pigs feet themselves, a trotter added to a stock or stew is a remarkable thickener and flavour enhancer 😉

  2. Michelle says:

    Oh, trotters are a bad word here this week. Poor Steve bought some wonderful-looking heritage breed ones this weekend and spent yesterday cooking them up hoping to make crépinettes. Alas, there was basically zero meat on those little feet. But the stock made for a nice posole.

    Still, wow, I’ve never heard of them done as confit! That cannot possibly be a bad thing.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi Michelle – I think that’s why the white pig became so popular, though there are some big, but slow growing heritage breeds.
      Trotters are not the only kind of pork confit in Spain, there’s also a very popular loin of pork dish slow cooked in lard, which Chica Andaluza posted some time ago 😉

  3. jmcheney says:

    OK, Mad. I might do it. I usually get smoked ham hock or smoked or “plain” neck bones for bean soups, but I might try trotters on your recommend. And I’ll try not to think about anything & certainly NO thoughts at all of our darling friends at The Farmy. <[:~O

  4. Eha says:

    A lot of thoughts generated with a big smile: in Estonia pig trotters are widely used but mostly for beautiful gelatinous brawn: virtually a national dish! Oft they are also slow-baked but don’t recall a confit-like recipe. In spite of the fat would love to try!! Don’t have a proper larder [‘sahver’] here in Australia but have fond memories of our large one back in Tallinn: with the harshness of the climate there, it did act as a fridge . . . with the most glorious and mostly smoked aromas upon entrance. All the hams and black puddings and smoked sausages and meats-to-be-cooked were hung from the rafters!!! And . . . with Sheila probably avidly reading about herself and her glorious avoirdupois these last few days do hope this arrived in Illinois after beddy-bye time . . .

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi Eha, I love the idea of all that Estonia brawn – one day I’ll do my own brawn post…
      Interestingly, there was almost no fat coming off the trotter confit, unlike duck, so I think most of it is rendered out during the cooking process.
      In spite of my love of pork, Sheila is my favourite pig and I’d miss her far too much to want to eat her. She’s quite safe from me 😉

      • Eha says:

        Mad, I just had to come back! Essentials opened got to your Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White links! Actually for a few ways bar pig trotters . . . 😀 !! OMG Marco surely was eye candy in ‘those’ days’ – he does our rather good Masterchef every year now as a very much liked ‘older statesman’ . . . but I surely could have gone for him!! Discovered Pierre Koffman only a few years back . . . methinks he came to the ‘Berkeley’ way later than my last visit . . . coming from ‘the Colonies’ we first stayed at the Savoy [no!!!!!], quickly changed for the longest time to the Connaught, but when we began taking our small daughters along with us the ‘Berkeley’ offered unreal love, help and memories . . . no PK as yet . . .

  5. Big Man loves trotters so when I can get hold of them in England (I have to fight with a local Chinese Restaurant manager who buys them for himself and his family!) I make our version with almonds and saffron. I’m not to keen on the meat but I love the gelatinous gravy! In Andalucia they also call them Manitas de Ministro – clearly refrring to how they all feel about politicians in Spain 😉 Love the idea of a confit, especially with lentils…they look great. PS. Will get my act sorted out and get some oil and lemons to you soon!

    • Mad Dog says:

      That’s so funny having to compete with the Chinese restaurant manager. I’ve never had any trouble buying the raw ones from the butcher in Theobalds Road, but that kind of thing depends on the demand. I have seen them in Morrisons too, if you have one nearby. The confit trotters are really fantastic – they do a wonderful job of preseasoning them and they are so easy to warm up.
      Thanks so much for the offer of lemons and oil. Did you come up with a plan for selling it in England?

  6. ChgoJohn says:

    This sounds like a great dish, MD, perfect for this time of year. I’ve not seen trotter confit and that’s one ingredient that would be almost impossible to find here. I’ve got a lentil with sausages post coming up and plan to make lentils with ham hocks again tomorrow. We’re heading into sub-zero temps and a bowl of lentils is a good way to get through it. Even so, sure wish I could find me some trotters confit. 🙂

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks John! I’ve never seen the confit anywhere else, which is odd since it’s extraordinarily good and obviously an old fashioned method of preservation. I’m sure your lentils and sausages are good – I’m very fond of sausages with the red variety. I’m also sure that ham hocks will be excellent for the cold and you could use the leftovers for pea and ham soup 🙂

  7. I’m not surprised at all and I’m extremely impressed at how wonderful the trotters from your Barcelona butcher must taste with the puy lentils. Thanks always for sharing and I do want you to cook for me one day!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Amanda, what a lovely thing to say! I’d like the same – your cooking is fantastic and I hope I’ll get to sit at your table one day too. Perhaps (in the future) we can organise a bloggers pot luck, in order to meet up with regular blogging friends 🙂

  8. Never seen those before….they look wonderful. Brilliant idea, particularly with Puy lentils…I made a very good lentil curry with some Puy lentils last night, together with an aubergine curry…

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Roger – I can’t believe the Catalans have been able to keep the trotter confit secret. You’d think it would be popular throughout Europe and the New World 🙂

  9. Karen says:

    It is interesting that the pig feet confit is only to be found in Spain. I guess it makes it all the more special when you have a dish like this.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi Karen – yes very. I’m not sure if they are even found outside of Cataluña, but I don’t know that for certain. It is quite possible that one might find them in Eastern Europe, but I couldn’t find much info on trotter confit at all on the internet. I’ll have to ask Fergus Henderson about them the next time I see him – he’s an authority on cooking the whole pig from nose to tail.

  10. I shall pass this on to Our John – he loves his pigs feet! c

  11. Joséphine says:

    Belle journée 🙂

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