Moroccan Hergma Recipe - Calf or Lamb Trotters with Wheat
There are many variations to this dish but this is how I like it, simple, slow-cooked, not heavily spiced but most of all, I like to see that purse-looking (kemmoussa) cheesecloth hiding the cooked wheat just unraveling before my eyes before we spread it on top the hergma. It never fails to draw a smile on my face.Slow-cooking method is best and especially on charcoal if at all possible. In my London kitchen, I use a dutch oven and place it in the oven for a couple of hours. It saves me from the hassle of a sticky bottom due to direct heat especially at the end of the cooking process when the sauce has reduced. We prefer to use calf trotters rather than lamb; there is not much to eat in a lamb trotter whereas calf trotters are richer and highly glutinous.
Course: Main Course
Author: Nada Kiffa | Taste of Maroc
For the main stew
3lbscalf or sheep trotters, cut into 3 each and washed thoroughlypreferably the ones form the front,
Optional step: A few hours before cooking, soak the calf or sheep feet in cold water mixed with a tablespoon or salt and a tablespoon of vinegar. Rinse thoroughly before you add them to the cooking pot.
In the pressure cooker or a Dutch oven or deep pot, add 1/2 cup of water, the spices except for the cayenne and paprika, the garlic and the trotters. Stir and place over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add enough water to cover the trotters, about 6 to 8 cups. Add the cayenne and paprika to the pot and stir. Put the lid on or lock the pressure cooker.
Cook on medium heat for about 1 hour (pressure cooker) or more if you are using a slow-cooking method (from 2 to 6 hours depending on the method of cooking). The trotters should be nearly cooked before you add the other ingredients. Trotters from young lamb and calf tend to cook faster. If this is the case, fish them out and keep them covered while you carry on with the other steps of the recipe.
Place the washed wheat germs in a cheesecloth and tie it up. Place it in the sauce along with the chickpeas. If the level of liquids is low, add enough water to cover the added ingredients.
Cover loosely and cook for another 30 min or until the chickpeas are tender and trotters are easily falling of the bones. The sauce should be thick and reduced.
Retrieve the cheesecloth with wheat berries. Open it and spread the mass out on a plate, using a fork to break up any lumps.
In a warm serving dish, place the trotters, followed by the chickpeas and the thick sauce. Top with the wheat berries.
Always serve the hergma warm. Should you have leftovers and want to reheat them, add a bit of water to loosen the sauce.
Most of butchers sell the feet cleaned and hair-free. However, if you happen to have a gas cooker/stove, you can hover them over flames and rotate them to burn any left hair.
Ask your butcher to cut the calf or sheep feet for you as a regular kitchen knife won't be of much help.