Yield 4 servings as an appetizer, 2 as a main dish
4 large pig tails
1 large onion, cut into eighths
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
2 teaspoons of red chili flakes
1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt
4 or 5 bay leaves
The first step is to soften the pig tails. Throw ‘em in a big pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and let cook at a steady bubble for 15 minutes.
Drain and toss the cooking water. Return the pig tails to the pot and add the onion, black peppercorns, red chili flakes, kosher salt, and bay leaves.
Cover completely with cold water, and bring to a boil once more. With the lid off, let bubble until the tails are nearly falling apart when you touch them, about 2 hours. Remove the pig tails from the water, but don’t toss the cooking liquid! This stuff makes delicious broth and is excellent with a little red curry paste stirred into it.
Dry off the pig tails with paper towels and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the pig tails on a wire baking rack atop a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until popping and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Turn over once at the 20 minute mark.
Serve over a mashed root vegetable (I used sweet potatoes, but butternut squash, parsnips, or carrots would also be tasty) and sauteed greens. Squeeze with some lemon juice just before eating.