Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anyone for Boiled Pig's Feet?

Daily Iowegian - 15 January 2009
By Patty Timmens – Cincinnati correspondent
  I had an interesting phone call this week. The voice on the other end was that of Vera Thomas Salter and she was calling from Danbury, Texas. It seems that somehow Vera had a number for Larry Golic and had called him looking for a specific Croatian recipe. Larry gave her my number and led her to believe I was an expert with such things.
  Vera and I had a lovely conversation. She grew up near Thirty and Vera’s mom was the sister of the mother of my aunt,
Marie Raskie, and her sister, Teenie Kopatich. There are plenty of Raskies around and I am related to just about everyone in these parts, so I really was not surprised by this connection.
  The recipe that Vera was seeking was for something known as Julitza or Zulica or any number of differently spelled names. I clearly remember
Mary Jo Kauzlarich Staniger describing it at one of the funerals we attended in the last year. As I recall, Mary Jo made an appropriately yucky face when talking about this dish. It does not sound like anything I might want to try but my sources tell me it really is tasty.
 After the call from Vera I began calling the good cooks I know. Aunt Cele Budiselich was able to give me a good description and Lenora Burnett definitely knew what I was talking about.
Mary Micetich was the one who knew exactly how to do this, from experience. Aunt Cele also found it in print in one of the older cookbooks that had been put together for Croatian Fest. I was pretty certain I had seen it but could not find my cookbook from that year so I am very happy that Aunt Cele keeps such things. I will be mailing the recipe to Vera since she told me she does not receive the Iowegian and she is not plugged into the Internet. Here it is for your dining pleasure.

--4 fresh pig’s feet (split in half)
--Wash thoroughly and cover with three quarts of water in a large kettle.
--Add 3 tsp. salt and boil on low or moderate heat until real tender. 

--Turn off heat and let cool in kettle. 
--When cool, dish in pie plates with 2 or 3 pieces of meat in each plate and pour broth over. 
--Sprinkle chopped garlic over the top (about one clove per plate). 
--Cover and refrigerate until liquid sets like jello. 
--Serve with homemade bread and butter.
  This recipe was submitted to the Croatian Fest cookbook for 1992 by Cecelia Padavich.
Mary Micetich also said you will need to singe the feet if they are hairy. I did find references to this on the internet and there is some difference in recipes. 
  One said the garlic was added to the water as it cooked and also to add plenty of black pepper. Another said you can add vegetables like onion and carrots and remove them from the broth before placing into the pie plates or bowls. One recipe said to strain the broth with a strainer or cheesecloth.
  All the recipes I found mentioned serving it with bread and butter. One said it was traditionally served at Easter with green onions to prevent a snake from biting you that year. This is one dish that I am NOT offering to taste test, thank you very much. But I certainly did enjoy the research and the call from Vera. You are on your own finding the pig’s feet.

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