Homework, Goat trotters in spicy sauce
Homework, goat trotters in spicy sauce is a variation of the more popular nkwobi made with cow leg (cow trotters). The name Homework, I believe, came about because of the time and concentration devoted to eating this succulent dish. You need to get your fingers into it, nibble, chew, suck, lick,…there is so much “work” to do.
The first time my Renaissance man brought home this dish as a take-out from a local restaurant, I was sceptical. The goat trotters were whole, which was initially off-putting, but on tasting it, wow, wow… I became hooked. Now, when I buy goat trotters, I ask the butcher to cut them into smaller bits. This makes it easier to eat and is more presentable.
The meat needs to be boiled till it is very soft, fall-off-the-bone soft. Some goat meat can be very tough, usually the female goat, so as to save time and fuel, use a pressure cooker or add 10-15 pieces of dry beans to the meat (beans act as a meat tenderizer, this I learnt from my butcher and honestly still don’t know the science behind it).
You can also use any meat tenderizer that is totally flavourless and won’t affect the taste of the finished dish. Do not use akanwu (potash) to tenderise the meat because this extra akanwu can throw the recipe out of balance.
Ehuru needs to be roasted before use. The heat releases its essential oil which contains its essence and flavour.
You can roast ehuru in a dry pan over high heat or over an open fire, better yet, buy the pre-roasted one in the market.
Curry, thyme or crayfish is not used in making homework. It is a simple dish, which is where its beauty lies.
Utazi or any good bitters is needed to balance the richness of the sauce which is an emulsion made with palm oil and akanwu (potash).
To make Homework goat trotters in spicy sauce:
Goat trotters salt seasoning cubes 1 tablespoon Akanwu water* Palm oil 2 ehuru or 1 teaspoon ground ehuru (calabash nutmeg) Scotch bonnet, (fresh pepper) chopped 1 large onions, sliced utazi
*1 tablespoon Akanwu powder (10g) + 2 tablespoons water
Wash trotters well, season with salt and seasoning cubes, then add enough water to fully cover the meat.
Be careful with the salt because you will need a concentrated stock.
Cook till very, very soft and long enough to release enough gelatine from the bones into the stock. (This is what makes the sauce sticky and adds a lot of flavour to it).
Add more water as needed and cook down to 1/2 cup of stock.
Set the meat aside to cool down a bit.
Meanwhile, thinly slice onions and chop or grind pepper, set aside.
In a small bowl, put akanwu powder and water, stir till well mixed, let it settle a bit to allow any sand settle at the bottom.
Put palm oil in a bowl,
Add 1 tablespoon of the potash water and stir continuously using a wooden spoon, till the colour of the oil changes from red to yellow.
If it is cracking, add another 1/2 tablespoon of akanwu water and stir. This is called ncha (soap).
Add the ncha to the cooled meat in the pot. If the meat is too hot, the ncha, which is an emulsion, will crack causing the oil to leach out and the sauce will lose its consistency and taste oily.
Add ehuru, pepper, sliced onions and utazi to the pot (reserve some onions and utazi for garnishing).
Stir very well and taste, add seasoning cube if needed. Remember the stock is already concentrated, so it is most likely you won’t need to add any more salt.
Place over medium heat and stir frequently.
Stir until it has thickened enough and might start to stick to the bottom of the pot.
Take off the heat and serve on a platter. Garnish with reserved onions and utazi.
Serve with Palm wine, zobo or any drink of choice.
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