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How St. Jack's Aaron Barnett made pig's foot irresistible.
At Portland, Oregon’s St. Jack, chef Aaron Barnett specializes in Lyonnaise-style bistro dishes, the most famous of which is his pied de cochon (pig’s foot). It may seem like an unlikely candidate for a hit dish, but Barnett perfects it by taking inspiration from an old-school method, then updating it with an irresistible addition: brown butter. “The dish was popularized in the ’70s or ’80s in London by Pierre Koffmann,” Barnett says. “He would take all the meat out, but leave the skin and hoof attached. He’d stuff the trotter with roasted sweetbreads, chicken mousseline, mushrooms, and I think he used Cognac, though I use Madeira. He presented his in a European way, where they like that gelatinous quality. I tried to make mine a little more palatable for my customers by breading it and slow-roasting it with brown butter, garlic and thyme. You get this nice crunchy coating, then the soft, braised pig skin, then chicken mousseline and all that good stuff in the middle.”