Throughout my culinary expeditions, many dishes have caught my fancy, but the Pig Ears Recipe from Soul Food traditions stands out. This dish, so emblematic of deep-rooted traditions and familial gatherings, is one that I hold dear. Today, I’m unfolding this cherished recipe, offering you a slice of my memories, and a taste that’s purely soulful.
Pig ears, in the realm of Soul Food, isn’t just an ingredient but a celebration. Their tender, gelatinous texture when cooked right is unmatched. If you’re aiming for authenticity and a flavor that rings true to traditions, sourcing fresh pig ears is crucial. But don’t fret if you can’t find fresh ones; cleaned and prepped frozen ears can work wonders too. When preparing this iconic dish, the key is to give the ears the attention they deserve—slow cook them, letting them soak in all the spices and flavors. Once they’re done, you can choose to proceed with your chosen method, be it frying, grilling, or stewing, marrying them with other ingredients that elevate their natural goodness.
Pig Ears Recipe Soul Food
Stir-Fried Pig Ears
- Pork ears
- Kosher salt
- Using the kitchen torch or razor, remove the remaining hair on the pig’s ears. Scrub the ears to thoroughly clean the ears. It is best that you wash them under the running water.
- Put a pot of water over a medium-high flame, add the pig ears, aromatic spices and season with salt. Bring the ears into a simmer for about 1 ½ hours, making sure that they are tender before turning off the stove.
- Drain the pig ears and dry them using the paper towels and slice the ears into strips.
- Put a skillet over a medium-high flame and add a few tablespoons full of vegetable oil. Saute the shallots and garlic until they emit a fragrant aroma.
- Add the pig ears and continue to sauté until the strips attain the golden brown coloring. This will take about 5-7 minutes, but continue to do so if you prefer thicker strips.
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This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the Spoonacular Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Braised Pig Ears using a Pressure Cooker
- 2 fresh pig ears, cleaned thoroughly
- 3 cups of chicken or beef broth
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
- Optional: chili flakes or hot sauce for a kick
- Preparation: Start by cleaning the pig ears. Rinse them under cold water, ensuring all residual hair or dirt is removed. You can use a knife to scrape off any stubborn areas.
- Seasoning: In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar (or lemon juice), and salt. Place the pig ears in the marinade, ensuring they’re well-coated. Let them sit for about 30 minutes.
- Pressure Cooking: Place your pressure cooker on the stove. Add the marinated pig ears, sliced onions, minced garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
- Pour in the chicken or beef broth, ensuring the ears are submerged. If needed, you can add water just to cover them.
- Secure the lid of the pressure cooker and set it on high. Once steam starts to escape, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 45-50 minutes.
- After the cooking time is over, turn off the heat and let the pressure release naturally. This might take an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Once safe, open the cooker lid. Check the tenderness of the pig ears with a fork—they should be soft but still have a slight chewiness.
- Serving: Remove the ears from the broth and slice them into thin strips. They’re now ready to be used in your preferred soul food recipe or served as a standalone dish with a dipping sauce on the side.
Tips for making Pig Ears
Cooking Tips for Perfect Pig Ears Every Time
- Freshness is Key: Always opt for fresh pig ears when available. They offer a cleaner taste and superior texture. If using frozen, ensure they’re thawed correctly to maintain texture.
- Avoid Overcooking: While we want the pig ears tender, overcooking can make them too soft. Always keep an eye on the cooking time, especially when using a pressure cooker.
- Season Generously: Pig ears can handle robust flavors. Don’t be shy with your spices and herbs. However, always taste as you go to prevent over-seasoning.
- Avoid High Heat: Cooking on high heat can cause the broth to evaporate too quickly, possibly leading to burnt ears. Always opt for a gentle simmer to ensure even cooking.
Serving Suggestions for Braised Pig Ears
- Audience and Occasion: Pig ears are best enjoyed in an intimate gathering, such as family dinners or a backyard barbecue. It’s a dish that tells a story, making it ideal for occasions where you can share tales of its origin and preparation.
- Complementary Sides: Since braised pig ears have a rich flavor, they’re complemented by lighter sides. Consider pairing them with pickled vegetables, a crisp coleslaw, or a refreshing cucumber salad. For a heartier meal, serve alongside collard greens or buttered cornbread.
- Beverages: A cold beer or a sparkling cider can be a wonderful palate cleanser, contrasting the deep flavors of the pig ears. If you prefer non-alcoholic, iced tea with a squeeze of lemon does wonders.
- Presentation: Pig ears can be sliced thin and served on a platter as an appetizer. For a more rustic touch, consider leaving them slightly thicker and serving as a main, garnished with freshly chopped parsley or spring onions.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pig Ears
- How do I store leftover braised pig ears? Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. For longer storage, consider freezing them. When reheating, a gentle simmer in a pot until warmed through is best.
- Can I use a different cooking method for pig ears? Absolutely! While the pressure cooker method is speedy, you can also slow-braise them in a pot or oven. The key is to ensure they’re tender and flavorful.
- My pig ears turned out too tough. What went wrong? Pig ears require a decent amount of cooking time to break down the collagen and achieve that signature tenderness. If they’re tough, they might not have been cooked long enough.
- Can I substitute pig ears with another part of the pig? While pig ears have a unique texture and flavor, you can experiment with parts like pig’s feet or snouts. The cooking method would remain similar, though times may vary.
- Is there a vegetarian alternative to pig ears in this dish? While the unique texture of pig ears is hard to replicate, king oyster mushrooms can be a decent vegetarian substitute. They can be sliced and braised in a similar fashion, absorbing the flavors of the broth.
Braised pig ears are more than just a dish; they’re a culinary journey. With each bite, they bring forth rich traditions and evoke warm memories. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned chef, their unique flavor and texture remain unparalleled. Here’s to relishing and preserving the legacy of this soulful delight. Cheers!
Experience the culinary brilliance of Chef John at Food And Meal Restaurant. With over 20 years of global expertise, My innovative creations and unwavering dedication to cooking have earned me a well-deserved reputation. My passion for gastronomy is showcased in every dish, combining fresh, local ingredients with harmonious flavors and captivating presentations. My ability to tell a story through my food reflects my profound understanding of culture and emotion.