Cleaning out my freezer I came across a pair of trotters from our meat CSA. I'd been telling myself that I was going to bone them out and stuff them, but considering how long they'd been sitting in the freezer that seemed pretty unlikely. Instead I turned to Fergus Henderson's second book Beyond Nose To Tail and made a lazy version of trotter gear. By lazy I mean I put mirepoix, red wine, peppercorns, some water and the trotters in my slow cooker and let it go for 6 hours.
The house smelled terrific. Once my slow cooker was done I strained the liquid and picked through the leftovers removing all the large bits of vegetables and bones. Then I tore the large bits of skin, tender cartilage and meat into small pieces and placed it back in the rich liquid.
After it set in the fridge overnight I really got to see how thick the liquid actually was. Gelatinous is an understatement. Prying a chunk out to cook some 4th of July collard greens in took both a spoon and a knife.
The flavour is intense, meaty and very porky.
Collard greens cooked in trotter gear
Not really sure what to do withe the rest of my trotter gear, I'm open to suggestions.
Another one from the master - Fergus Henderson's recipe for deviled kidneys. I'm using lamb kidneys that I got from my meat CSA, Stillman Farm, they do this wonderful thing where they give away all the off bits and offal for free to members. My meat CSA is amazing - everyone should join one.
The recipe is very simple. Remove the sinewy bit from the center of each kidney, roll them in seasoned flour and fry in butter in a very hot pan (2 minutes each side). Add a large shake of worcestershire sauce and some chicken stock, once everything has 'gotten to know each other' take the kidneys from the pan and put on a piece of toast to rest. Continue to reduce the sauce, and when ready pour the reduced sauce over the kidneys on toast.
Deviled kidney on toast with Brussels sprouts tossed in grainy mustard.
This recipe reminds me of my Dad - I can see him eating these for lunch on a cold day in Nova Scotia with a pint of dark beer.
The kidney's are simple and salty and the toast soaks up the gravy in just the right way. If my cholesterol weren't already high I would eat this for lunch everyday. Or maybe breakfast.
My stock boiled away for several hours, smelling delicious. Eventually I plucked out the head to see what I'd been left with. As with most heads there was a good amount of meat, and all the hours of boiling had actually done very good things to the tongue, but the brain was mush. Very close to the texture of wallpaper paste.
I picked the meat, and peeled the tongue. The broth was very strong, my thought is that they killed the lamb by inserting something into its head, which bled quite a bit (I discovered that after I cleavered the head open) so there was quite a bit of blood in the stock. Not something I thought about.
The scotch broth I made had loads of flavour, but to me seemed a tad gamier than it normally is. And I'm admittedly disappointed about not getting to try some yummy fried brains, or cold brains on toast.
I did, however, get a very flavourful (if maybe a tad gamey) bowl of soup.
Thanks to my new meat CSA (Stillman's Turkey Farm) I've managed to get my hands on a lambs head.My grand plan was to break down my lambs head into it's various parts (skull, brain, tongue) and use each of those elements in different dishes. This pan was derailed when I realized that in order to break down this head I needed a saw. And I do not have a food safe saw.
Trying my best to break it down, this didn't help at all.
The obvious solution to my dilemma is soup. I'm hoping that if I keep my stock boiling really low then my tongue and brain wont get overcooked. We'll see how I do.
Fingers crossed my plan works!
Worst case scenario is a really killer batch of scotch broth - and all things considered that's a pretty awesome worst case.
After spending the summer sharing a veggie CSA with a buddy of mine I'm totally hooked. Community Supported Agriculture is the way to go - no grocery shopping and different produce every week. Not to mention supporting local farmers. There is no downside.
These particular buddies whom I shared the CSA with happen to be are vegetarian, so I branched out on my own to join a Meat CSA. Small farm in Mass, who will be supplying us with 5lbs a month of humanely raised beef, chicken, pork and lamb.
I couldn't resist asking about getting some offal, and some other more interesting cuts. Turns out that they pack a box of cuts free for the taking at all pick ups! This information has turned around my day.