I love to find "peasant food" in off-beat markets in NYC. During my morning walk down to Lower East Side, I found Compare Foods on 6th st and Avenue D. It is a typical grocery store BUT has a lot of odds and ends of animals that I love. I also found a nice collection of batata (sweet potato), malanga coco (similar to yam) and cassava bread.
The meat department is adorned with an array of lovely cow feet, pig's feet, chicken feet, smoked hocks (see Recipe below), turkey legs cut through the bone, oxtail and tripe.
Winter at my home was always filled with luscious meaty stews flavored with these "piedi and musso" of animals and below is my mom's recipe for ham hock flavored lentils.
Mom's Smoked Hock Lentils
2 smoked ham hock
2 quart chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
2 cups dry lentils
salt to taste
dash red pepper flakes
Add the chicken stock, dried thyme, black pepper, bay leaf, red pepper, and ham hock into a soup pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and simmer covered for another 30 minutes.
Add the lentils and simmer covered for another 30 minutes, remove cover and skim off any excess fat on the surface. Continue to simmer another 15 to 20 minutes uncovered, until the lentils are tender and the pork is falling off the bone. Taste for salt, adjust seasoning, and serve with chopped fresh parsley.
Walk: from Ave D and 6th to 14th St Food Markets to pick up lentils (~25min walk--walk it both ways!)
Nutrition Rx: High in Fiber, Folate and Protein