Eating Nose to Tail


 

Raining again today, the weather is begging for soup.  After a day in the fridge I brought out my pot of pea soup, put it on the stove and lifted the lid.  Looking up at me was a pot of totally congealed green goo.  So thick that a heavy ladle stood straight up in it, and I was able to slice it like cake.  Which I did.

It's really rather pretty, just not exactly soup-like.  Note to self: when making soup with headcheese stock, make sure to water it down.  My soups solid nature was easily fixed by being placed back on the stove over a low flame.  While my soup was slowly returning to a liquid state I got busy slicing my cooked pig's ear.  The ears were sticky, with a mildly gelatinous exterior over a hard cartilage that gives the ear its structure.  I had four ears but only sliced two in case I needed to adjust the width of my slicing.

With my soup melting and my ears sliced I needed to heat my oil and fry my ears.  Now, my recipe warned me that ears tend to spatter when they fry even when they're dry.  This is very, very true.  I'm fairly sure that there is oil on my ceiling, and I have several little burn marks from badly chosen moments of stirring.  Frying pig's ears is not a dull experience.

When they were all fried I had a beautiful pile of crunchy and chewy pigs ears to top my soup with.

I seasoned my soup with salt, fresh black pepper and a little cider vinegar.  With a few more tastes I determined that a little hot sauce was needed so some of that went in the pot, and then it was ready.  With bowl and spoon in hand it was time to taste.

The soup was very thick and viscous, and the crispy pig's ear topping was a little chewy and had a lovely salty falvour.  All in all an exceptionally filling bowl of soup full of hearty flavors and a lots of texture.  An excellent beginning to my nose to tail eating experience courtesy of Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast.

 
 

Today it was a little rainy in MA, so it seemed to be the perfect day to start making my soup.  I did not have a ham stock like the recipe asked for, but I did have some pork stock left over from when I made head cheese last.  Also, I had four pig's ears and not two like the recipe asked for, so all four went in the pot.  I used almost double the liquid the recipe called for so I'm guessing it's going to be alright.  It's really a simple recipe; pig's ears, onions, stock and split peas go into a pot for three hours.  Then the pig's ears are removed, sliced thinly and deep fried to what I'm hoping will be a delightful crisp and placed on top as a garnish.

I'll just be making the soup tonight, and taking the pigs ears out to cool and slice tomorrow.  Hopefully this will be my lunch at work all week.  I have very high hopes for this recipe, although the pig's ears have turned a mildly disturbing dark colour while they simmer away with the peas and onions.  I thought about putting a picture up, but I'm having some technical difficulties.  The pig's ears are no longer the pleasant pink colour they were in the photo above, enough said.  Anyway, high hopes.

 
 

Plan on making pea and pig's ear soup from The Whole Beast this weekend.  I got excited and went and got my pigs ear's and some split peas without my camera.  Grocery stores are some of my favorite places, even the giant ones, so it feels like I should share some images of them.  Went to Super 88 Market in my neighborhood, a great Asian supermarket. Bought my pig's ears and lentils and spent 4.20$, other then these two ingredients the only other I will have to buy will be a ham bone for the stock.  Which is making my adventure very affordable so far.  Wondering where I am going to get a ham bone, there is a small butcher down the street (whose name is alluding me) I'll try tomorrow.

Will get some images up here as soon as I can.