In a week or so, you'll be able to order a pig's foot that's been stuffed with ground pork parts at the Meddlesome Moth. Trotters, as they're called, can be found on a few menus across the country, but they're hardly commonplace, especially in Dallas.
Chef Robbie Lewis says he was inspired by his time cooking at Texas Spice in the Omni Hotel, where he helped break down a whole pig every week and the kitchen was tasked with using as much of the animal as possible. Cooking nose to tail made an impression on the chef, and soon the fruits of that effort will be available alongside one of the better beer lists in Dallas.
Lewis joined the Moth earlier this year as executive sous chef, but he was recently promoted when executive chef Joe Synatschk fluttered away into the night. Lewis says his first tweaks to the menu will be small, but he hopes to eventually make his mark on the kitchen. And he's starting with pig's feet to leave a big impression.
Lewis' approach is interesting, and while I've yet to try it, it sounds like his method could downplay the funky barnyard flavor that can remind you that you're eating feet while you're eating pig's feet. The skin of each foot is scored and pealed back, and the bone is cleaved just above the ankle. The bones are used to make a pork stock and the boneless foot is stuffed like a tube sock with a blend of ground pork, pork skin, pork fat and pistachios. The "feet" then get wrapped in cheese cloth, trussed and gently poached in the pork stock made from the aforementioned bones.
Stay with me now -- we're almost eating.
Lewis takes the braised "feet" and browns them in a pan before they're roasted in the oven until the skin is good and crispy and they're completely cooked through. The foot is then sliced and served on a bed of coarsely chopped collard greens cooked down until they're soft. That's a lot of work for just one dish, especially at the Meddlesome Moth, where most of the cooking is comparatively straightforward.
It looks great, though, if you have a thing for feet. Lewis says they might have been on the menu this week, but the restaurant is too busy dealing with North Texas Beer Week, so look for the dish to appear on the menu next week or soon after. And if you like the idea of pig's feet, keep checking back to see what Lewis introduces in the coming months. We could have a completely new Moth sometime in the future.