Monday, 15 November 2010

A lesson in Butchery

An exciting day with lots of blood, flesh & organs. Ray and his wife Mary took our first lesson in Butchery today. Both extremely experienced, Ray was the butcher at River Cottage with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and is famous for his 'pig in a day' courses and demonstrations. A true Londoner, he is just as I imagine a butcher to be; cheeky, jokey and keen to share the tricks of the trade. 

First, we made faggots from pig meat (mmm). I have to be honest, having never actually tasted one, I wasn't actually aware what a faggot was (in the food sense). A faggot is the off cuts of offal (ie. kidney, lungs, heart, fat).

Artisan producers encourage making use of everything and creating faggots are a good way to do this. We cut off lean pieces of the meat and then minced the meat. The liver gave it a rich colour and the fat gives good flavour.

Using a mixer we combined chopped onion, corriander seeds, sage and white peppercorns. In another bowl we had breadcrumbs with a large dash of red wine.

Mixing the herbs and the breadcrumbs together we then combined this in the bowl with the minced meat to form round meat balls.

The caul (a mesh like structure that holds the gut of the animal) made perfect netting for faggot parcels. Streaky bacon also did the job. 

Once I've finished this, I will cycle home and cook some up...will keep you posted on the taste tomorrow :-0 I also took some fine cuts of liver, which I love, so im looking forward to a bit of that with some bacon too.

In the afternoon, Ray brought out the saddleback from the chiller and got to work showing us parma ham, streaky bacon, back bacon, fillet, chops, rack of ribs - here he is in all his butchery block glory. More tomorrow...

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