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Enjoying foods with cartilage and tendon


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#1 runoo

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 11:40 AM

I'm a new posting member, altho I've been following Egullet for years.  I'm also a rabid addict for chewy things, especially cartilage and, when desparate, beef tendon. Having chewed my way through hundreds of chicken feet and wing knuckles, I'm wondering how to find other cartilage-rich foods to cook (or find in restaurants). Being Jewish, I've never gotten up the nerve to try pigs feet or ears, altho I do eat pork in other forms.

 

Does anyone have an idea how to assuage my cartilage craving in other ways?

 

Runoo



#2 glennbech

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 03:44 PM

In season 11 of hells kitchen, the losing team must chew through a pile of balut eggs.... Man, that would be a huge problem for me...



#3 huiray

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 06:31 PM

I'm a new posting member, altho I've been following Egullet for years.  I'm also a rabid addict for chewy things, especially cartilage and, when desparate, beef tendon. Having chewed my way through hundreds of chicken feet and wing knuckles, I'm wondering how to find other cartilage-rich foods to cook (or find in restaurants). Being Jewish, I've never gotten up the nerve to try pigs feet or ears, altho I do eat pork in other forms.

 

Does anyone have an idea how to assuage my cartilage craving in other ways?

 

Runoo

 

Welcome!

 

Just as an aside, tendon when properly done as a food item in its own right is NOT supposed to be chewy, at least in the E/SE Asian traditions.  Instead, it is supposed to be stewed/braised/whatever so that it is practically melts (or at least yields meltingly) in one's mouth.  ;-)  Ditto chicken feet done properly, such as well-made "Phoenix Claws" in Chinese dim-sum, where it retains its texture but is soft and yielding nevertheless.  :-)  Just sayin'.



#4 heidih

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 06:57 PM

Years ago when cooking for the Panamanian I tried to recreate his grandmother's cow's foot soup and got the thumbs up. Started by blanching the skin on feet in water with hits of vinegar and onion. They were simmered then with simple aromatics like bay, pepper, thyme, bit of onion and maybe a ripe tomato. On special occasions some ox-tail added a deeper flavor and richness. Later in the cooking yucca, potato, sweet potato and okra wandered into the pot at various times to retain texture. It was finished with some drop dumplings made of half all purpose flour and half cornmeal. Immensely lip smacking, comforting, and satisfying.
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#5 heidih

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 07:02 PM

The chicken knuckles Anna N enjoyed in her post here look pretty amazing http://forums.egulle...27#entry1944427

#6 Shalmanese

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 07:41 PM

I was raised in a Chinese household and it didn't even occur to me until a couple of years ago that some people considered cartilage to be non-edible. To me, crunching on the cartilage is one of the favorite parts of the meal. They're like meaty, extra thick potato chips. I also love to crack open bones and suck out the bone marrow. You can tell if a chicken is well cooked by the texture of the bone marrow. Undercooked chicken will have red, coppery tasting raw bone marrow, over cooked chicken will have chalky, dusty bone marrow. But a perfectly cooked chicken will have tender, custardy bone marrow that will come out in one suck, leaving a perfectly clean bone tube.

 

I also love sucking and chewing on pork rib bones to extract the bone marrow soup embedded in it. To me, it's the most intense, porkiest morsel of the entire animal.


PS: I am a guy.

#7 HungryChris

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 05:47 AM

Before Emeril Lagasse ruined it for us by declaring lamb shanks a delicacy, they used to be dirt cheap. I absolutely loved them cooked on the grill because they provided a  wonderful combination of tastey lamb and some great chewy tendons that when well seasoned were just great.  

 

 

HC



#8 runoo

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 07:09 AM

Thanks all for your welcome and comments.

 

Glennbech: Eating balut eggs reminds me of eating live shrimp in a Japanese restaurant. I guess some things are not meant for Western palates. :huh:

huiray: Phoenix Claws are an everlasting delight from my earliest childhood. However, they were just called "chicken feet". My fondest memory is my mother building a cage of absolutely clean finger bones around the edge of her plate. I never left an uncleaned bone after that!

heidih: Sounds like a lot of work!

shalmanese: Well, Nobody has answered my question about finding cartilage NOW. I guess I'll have to go find all your grandmothers :raz:

hungry chris: Ah, of course, I'd forgotten....lamb shanks. Time for a trip to the farmer's market. Thanks.

 

Another cartilage memory from the past. My mother used to make a veal breast stuffed with seasoned rice, served with tomato sauce. Heavenly! And the veal was so young that the bones were entirely chewable. No way to find that now.



#9 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:39 AM

If you want to eat feet there are various paya (cow/goat/sheep foot) curry recipes from Pakistan,  or Nigerian nkwobi  (spicy cow's feet), or else Mannish Water (goat's head soup) from Jamaica.

 

The Nasty Bits column on Serious Eats might yield more ideas.


Edited by Plantes Vertes, 28 December 2013 - 10:02 AM.


#10 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:51 AM

You'd probably also really enjoy Ecuadorian Caldo de Patas, which is cow's foot soup - soooo much yummy collagen and cartilage….


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#11 Shalmanese

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 02:51 PM

shalmanese: Well, Nobody has answered my question about finding cartilage NOW. I guess I'll have to go find all your grandmothers :raz:

 

If you have a full service butcher near you, have a chat with them and tell them what you're after. Often, they're left with a lot of bones that they can't sell and would be happy to give away to you. In particular, some of the bones I like for their cartilage are shoulder blade bones from pigs with their long thin plate of cartilage, neck bones from pigs/sheep, rib tips from pigs, chicken carcasses for the central breast bone.

 

Alternatively, if there's an Asian or Mexican butcher near you, they often have a lot of the aforementioned cuts for pretty cheap.


PS: I am a guy.

#12 huiray

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 06:05 AM

I like beef shins too, especially the whole boneless ones.  I get them from full-service butchers or my Chinese grocery.  I usually cut them up into rounds of my liking that day then stew/braise them in whatever style I am in the mood for - European/Western style or Chinese/SE Asian style, with appropriate condiments and spices - usually till they are meltingly tender, cartilage & tendons and all.  Yum.  I'm sure one could stop short of the tendons becoming as tender so that they retain some chewiness if one desired. Personally, I don't really like it when tendons are not cooked till soft (and gelatinous when eaten) and tend to put aside tendons that are chewy and resistant to my teeth...I guess it takes all kinds to make the world go round. :-)  Beef shanks (as they are usually called), bone-in, sliced into rounds as frequently found all over in Western-type supermarkets and butchers etc as of course you know - are treated similarly by me.

 

I imagine you think of the tendons in shin/shank to be encompassed in the term "beef tendon" when you described what you were after, as suggested by your comment regarding lamb shanks - I would encourage/promote that line of thought in your case! :-)   When you do go after beef tendons ("in desperation") what sort do you chew on?



#13 runoo

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:03 AM

To all who replied to my call for chewy things.....many, many thanks. Yes, I will look for a full service butcher to discuss this with. huiray, the only time I've met up with beef tendons so far is at a good Taiwanese restaurant in Cary. And the dish was a mix of meltingly soft and slightly chewy. :wub:

A favorite of mine is oxtail stew, which I cook all the time, so some of your other ideas should be doable.

Again, many thanks!

 

Runoo



#14 huiray

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:39 AM

Runoo, you're welcome.

 

Assuming you are in the Cary, NC area (i.e. the Research Triangle area in NC) I know there are various Vietnamese restaurants around there that serve phở.  Since you say you have only had beef tendon at a Taiwanese restaurant I somehow suspect you might not have had this dish (phở) before?  If so, it might be an idea to sample this dish and ask for "special pho" (or Phở Đặc Biệt) which will have the full panoply of ingredients in it including beef tendon. :-)   If you have eaten this before, then please excuse me.

 

ETA:  Actually, come to think of it (and maybe broadening the discussion a wee bit further too) the beef meatballs in Phở Đặc Biệt would, if they are any good, be of the "springy" sort, with the characteristics favored by E/SE Asian folks (of Han-type ancestry) which would be "springy" with some "bite" to it, a sort of "spring-back" when one chomps into it.  Something which is called "song hou" in Cantonese.  This might in a sense be considered "chewy", albeit of a somewhat different characteristic than that of cartilage - but is not completely dissimilar.  Fish balls and pork balls in these cuisines, when properly made, would also have this "springiness" characteristic and vendors and makers of such meat balls would be prized based on their achievement of pleasant "springiness" - that does not become excessive so as to be considered "tough" instead, that is!

 

ETA2:  In fact, beef balls are often made WITH TENDON incorporated into the meat mixture.  These can be found in Chinese/E-SE Asian groceries, and are quite popular in the relevant cuisines too, versus just beef meat balls.  They would certainly provide a bit of "chewiness" for you!

 

ETA3:  Here's a picture of a pack of these beef-with-tendon balls [Venus brand] I have in my freezer:

DSCN0250a_1k.jpg

 

 


Edited by huiray, 29 December 2013 - 09:03 AM.


#15 huiray

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 09:15 AM

Runoo,

 

What about tripe and intestines?  Certainly tripe is not an unknown ingredient in Mexican cuisine, for one (menudo, anyone?)...i.e. in a cuisine that is not E/SE Asian. ;-)  Those would also be "chewy" in the sense that they have *definite* texture and "spring-back".  Something to consider.

 

BTW, one can buy big, ropey beef tendons (I have some in my freezer too, if you would like a pic let me know) of the sort that would probably have been used in that Taiwanese restaurant dish you mentioned and definitely of the sort that would be used in Vietnamese phở. (I use them in my home-made phở too) You might experiment braising them with beef/lamb shins/shanks or in similar ways. :-) 


Edited by huiray, 29 December 2013 - 10:02 AM.


#16 huiray

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 09:21 AM

Pork skin can also be cooked such that it is remarkably like cartilage in mouth feel.  Any number of dishes using pork belly, for example, including many dishes in the Chinese, SE Asian, Peranakan traditions, can be stopped short of full completion so that the skin on the pork belly slices will be somewhat chewy, just like what cartilage would feel like. :-) 

 

ETA:  I suppose that would be a more, uh, substantial step ("pork") for you though because of what you have said about your background.


Edited by huiray, 29 December 2013 - 09:22 AM.


#17 runoo

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 02:46 PM

Huiray,

 

Please don't get the wrong idea. I love pork and eat it whenever I can get some that doesn't taste like cardboard. That means searching around for artisanal pigs and paying a fortune!

 

Thanks for all your wonderful ideas. I googled Vietnamese restaurants in the area and there certainly are a number. Will go on a Pho experiment very soon. I had Pho exactly once at a restaurant in Chapel Hill and was very disappointed. Watery broth and not much flavor. I should have kept looking. The meatballs look very promising and I'll shop for some. We have a very good market in Cary (I don't live there, but it's worth a trip) that I use for stocking up on chicken feet, so another trip is coming :raz:

 

Runoo


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#18 dcarch

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 04:45 PM

Pig's ears, 

 

http://3.bp.blogspot...h/Pig Ear 3.jpg

 

dcarch


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#19 huiray

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:44 PM

Don't forget squid, cuttlefish and octopus also!



#20 Mette

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 11:52 PM

In Japan, you can get little take-away boxes of breaded, deep-fried chiclen cartilage - something very more-ish about the texture. Actually, you'd like Japan, full of inventive ways of cooking and eating the inedible bits......


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