This dish falls into the category of comfort food. Not like macaroni and cheese but more like one of those dishes that you grew up with and love but would have a hard time convincing others to feel the same way about it unless you all grew up in the same place. I can’t explain why I suddenly got a craving for a dish that I haven’t had for years but this is one of those times.
When I was growing up I loved eating pigs feet soup. I wasn’t concerned about the black color or the fact that it was made with pig’s feet. All I knew was that it was delicious.
I never understood that it was a special occasion soup until I was much older.
When this soup was served it meant that a new baby had arrived. This soup is known as a Chinese confinement soup that is made for a mother after giving birth. The Chinese believe that the soup warms the body from the inside out while providing iron and calcium from the pigs feet and the vinegar helps to purify the blood.
My birthing days are over which means that I need to make it for myself.
As I was browsing through the Chinese butchers counter I couldn’t bring myself to purchase the foot of the pig (signs of a fourth generation American Chinese) so instead I asked for the shank portion which is where all the meat is anyway. Be sure to ask the butcher to cut the meat into 2” pieces for you.
I wish that someone had taught me how to make this soup when I was younger but that never happened. So I did some research and came up with a recipe that I think is pretty close to what I remember.
I got the basics for this soup from “The Chinese Soup Lady” who says that her recipe is just a guide. If you want it to be more spicy add more ginger, more sour add more black vinegar, sweeter add more sweet vinegar, stronger, cut back on the water. It is all about personal preference.
CHINESE SWEET & SOUR PIGS FEET SOUP
3 pounds pork shank, cut into 2” slices
½ pound ginger, smashed & sliced
2 ½ cups sweet black vinegar (20 oz. bottle)
1 ¼ cup black vinegar
2 cups water
½ tsp. kosher salt
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and par boil the pork shanks for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Place about 1 Tbsp. oil in a pot and fry ginger for about 5 minutes.
Add the vinegars, water and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil; lower heat and cover. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour or until the pork is tender.
Add hard boiled eggs in the last 5 minutes of cooking.