Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Charceuterie Paradise

This past week has been another big one regarding cooking and processing. I took the prosciutto out of the salt a few days ago and now it is hanging in a cool, breezy environment. Which could take up to 8 months!

 We've also been chowing through the bacon, which is absolutely delicious. The flavour is just so intense and the texture is perfect.

These are just some delights we have used the bacon for: bacon and eggs, and bacon/apple/maple syrup pancakes.

 And nothing goes to waste! The ham bones go straight into the pot with split peas, herbs and veggies. Pea and Ham soup is so simple and so delectable no ham bones should never go to waste.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Cooking Up A Storm

Over the past few weeks since the pigs were slaughtered, with the help of my dad, my mum,  and my very kindly and very helpful breeder, Faye, I have been preserving and processing the meat. One of the pigs went towards feeding the sixteen people from the village who had purchased meat, and the other pig went to us and our family. I realised that the pig split sixteen ways was not going to yield very much meat. But each person got a large shoulder or loin roast; 12 or so streaky bacon rashers; 330 grams of ham slices; and if they chose, a cheek, a hock, some ribs or some ears. Each pack only had to be $20-40, depending on the size of the roast everyone chose and depending on what extras they bought. We found from just charging this, we boke even! This whole project has cost nearly $1000, meaning that I wanted to earn $450-500 for the village pig, and I easily got this much.
So now we've been working on making prosciutto:

I deboned the leg, covered it with salt, put a weight on it and left it in the cool. Next week I will take it out and hang it up for anything up to 12 months!
We also made salty sweet streaky bacon:


I took the ribs out of the bacon belly, put them in boxes and smothered them with sugar and salt for 5 days, turning them and re-smothering them every 24 hours. Then I hung them up for 3 days and then sliced them. Everyone who bought some got a nice pack of this, and I have had good feedback so far!
We also made sausages and salami:



The bratwurst like sausages were delicious. After feeding the meat (which was offcuts, fat and two shoulder roasts that we sacrificed) through the mincer, mixing the mince with spices and herbs, carefully feeding the mince through the sausage maker and into the intestines, and then painstakingly tying up the sausages at both ends, I hung the sausages up overnight before refrigerating them, while I will keep the salamis and chorizos hanging for another 6 weeks or so.
We also made haggis, with the lungs, heart and liver of the animals minced and fed into the sausage skins. This was actually the best (and stinkiest!!!) haggis i have ever had. I also made guanciale, which is pork cheek bacon:

This was just a matter of leaving in a box full of salt and sugar and spices for 4 days, rubbing the mixture around and then hanging overnight. With the help of Faye, we smoked the cheek, cooked it in boiling water and hung it for a day. Now it is ready to eat.
We also made hams. What is a pig without hams?

 This was a long and hard process. After being hung in the butcher's cool room for 5 days, with the help of Faye I pumped the hams full of a salt and sugar brine. they then soaked in the brine, with brine outside and inside, for a few days. Then I went up to her house where she had a smoker, and they were smoked overnight. A few days later, after hanging, I went up there and monitored them while the cooked in boiling water, which took 7 hours or so, and i had to be there the whole time to keep watch on the temperature. After they were cooked, they hung for another day in the cool room and then dad and i went back the next day and sliced them up into pieces. A pack of this smoky, juicy, salty ham was given to the pork buyers. I am still surprised at how much ham we got.

And we have been cooking! I deep-fried the testicles in breadcrumbs to make a delicious, scallop-like delicacy; i poached up the tongue in a Chinese style sauce; mum made poached tongue with white beans; mum made spicy, tasty devilled kidneys on toast; we boiled up the haggis, and it was delectable; we cooked up some chops; we roasted a hefty shoulder roast; I made a gorgeous liver pate; and we are making pea and ham soup right now!

Now, after all of this, I can truly say I have used everything except the oink! But it is not over yet. there will be more cooking and processing to go. But I have to say, this has been one of the hardest things I have ever done so far. It has been a massive challenge for me, just mammoth, but the experience has been an amazing one. The skills i have learnt, the knowledge, the expertise, the different people i have met and worked with, the beautiful pigs and their equally beautiful flesh - i have gained so much respect for the process and for the animals themselves. But watch this space - there's more to come.