That looks marvelous, Mick, and sounds like it turned out well. Nice use if the maw, also, and it does look a bit haggis like, though with a more edible stuffing.
Looks like your celebrating New Years a little early (or maybe, late). However, with the reversed winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the timing for the dish is perfect.
You mentioned the pig skin, which is traditional with cotechino, but did you actually incorporate it? I couldn't tell.
I've had cotechino in Modena several times and it's wonderful. Export to the U.S. was banned for many years until recently. Unfortunately, the exported product is required to be pre-cooked and is miserable compared to the freshly made product.
I've never made it solo, but played around doing it with a chef friend in his restaurants kitchen a a while ago, and once we got the proper ratio of pork, fatback, and skin down, it turned out very well. We didn't have proper sized bungs, much less a maw, so we simply formed 10" logs about 3"-4" in diameter, wrapped in commercial cling film followed by heavy duty foil. We let the packages rest in the refrigerator a couple days, then simmered for around 3 hours. We cut the logs into 1/2" discs and served them with lentils, as you did, and polenta with a bonus dusting of grated truffle. Great rustic and traditional food.
One thing I like to do is sear the discs in a hot skillet about 1 minute per side to give them a little crust. Also, if you haven't found it out yet, proper mincing or grinding the the fresh skin is nearly impossible, especially with non-commercial equipment. Best to cut the skin into strips and boil for 30 minutes beforehand.
For your next adventure, you should try zampone, another specialty of Modena. Pretty much the same mix stuffed into the boned skin of the pigs front trotters.
Great stuff. Congratulations!
Thanks for the comments you added to Mick's post. I appreciate the extra info on prepping the skin, and serving the cotechino!
Hope you are well,