Here is a wickedly easy dish you can make for a huge Sunday family gathering. It is delicious, relatively easy to make, and heart-stoppingly good – literally and figuratively. The original recipe comes from a Nora Daza cookbook, but I have altered the recipe somewhat. Start with two large whole pata or pig’s feet, the front legs. This will make enough for 6 hungry diners. Wash the pata very well, give it a pedicure if the nails totally turn you off, or if the queasy type, remove the small piece that includes the toes or is it hoof? Stick the two patas into a pot where they fit nicely (not too loose and not to snug), pour in a cup or so of good apple cider vinegar, a couple of bay leaves ( I used a combination of fresh leaves from the garden and some dried), 20-30 lightly smashed peppercorns, about 20 cloves of garlic and water to cover the pata and bring to a boil, uncovered. Remove any scum that rises to the surface and keep on a gentle gurgle until the patas are tender, ours took roughly 1.5 hours.
Turn the patas over once in a while and add water as needed and keep them a nice gentle boil. In the last half hour of the boil, let the liquid reduce a bit, so that perhaps you end the boil with liquid about halfway down the pata. You don’t want too much liquid, nor too little. Carefully remove the patas and put them on a plate, strain the liquid to remove the bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic and return the strained liquid to the same pot, add back the patas and turn the heat back on. Add about 3/4 cup of good brown sugar (muscovado if you have it), about 1/2 cup of soy sauce ( I used half Kikkoman, and half dark local soy sauce), some freshly ground pepper and about 3/4 cup of dried banana blossoms that have been pre-soaked in hot water. Let this all simmer for about 10-15 minutes and serve piping hot. Ms. Daza suggests serving this with fried bananas added to the stew in the last 5 minutes. I understand the added layer of starch and sweetness, but we skip this step. This is delicious with steaming hot white rice. Have a vegetable ready to help you justify eating something so incredibly rich and delicious…but so easy to make! Enjoy!