Meaty matters

I am a firm believer that if you are going to be a meat eater, you should do your best to make use of all the bits of every animal.  We do often buy meat in the form of a ‘half sheep’ or a ‘quarter pig’ and this means I use some of the less usual cuts, such as pork hock or neck of mutton, which rarely appear on supermarket shelves. Often these cuts are the ones that contain lots of connective tissue, so are tough unless cooked long and slow – something that I don’t mind doing at all, especially since they are frequently very tasty. However, I’m not a very big fan of offal, so I do struggle to put my ‘use the whole animal’ belief into practice. Nevertheless, last time we bought a box of pork from the amazing Martha Roberts, I did ask for the liver and today I took the plunge and made pork liver pate – something that Mr Snail really loves.

I chose a recipe from the River Cottage Cookbook that uses liver and belly pork. Mincing the meat up was rather messy and stretching the bacon to line the tins took a bit of time, but the results looked promising when they went into the oven. I’m really hoping that this will be a success, because it can be sliced and frozen for later use, and should go a very long way.

Anyway, it’s in the oven now and hopefully we’ll have a verdict tomorrow once it’s cool.

I noticed that the recipe on the adjacent page was for pigs trotters… I might have to work myself up to trying that!

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23 Comments

  1. Oh my, that is above and beyond. I hope Mr Snail really really appreciates you.

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  2. I totally second your thought. Full animal for me as well. Thanks for this informative piece.

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  3. I’m with you in principle, but once tried to make Haslet from a pig’s head, to see that head boiling in a pan turned me vegetarian for about a month afterwards and i never made it again!
    I expect your pate will be delicious!

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  4. I’m with Mr Snail, but the HoC is not an offally big fan of the wobbly parts either. He loves a bit of pork belly or oxtail, but anything from inside doesn’t appeal to the tastebuds much. I, on the other hand, love kidneys, liver, tongue, etc, but I find tripe boring and texturally challenging, a difficult combination! Bring on heads, cheeks, trotters, etc, though! I hope your pate turns out well and is enthusiastically received 🙂

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    • I knew that you were a fan – I seem to remember having a conversation about heart with you. I find the thought of a foot on my plate unappealing, but I could probably cope with cooking and removing the meat before presenting it. I know it’s illogical, but that’s how my brain is wired.
      I hate the smell of tripe, so I’ve never been able to face cooking that.

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      • It’s one of those polarising things. You either like it, or you hate it. I think, too, that texture is a major factor for a lot of people, and organ meats can be difficult: liver and kidney too dense, tripe too ripply/rubbery, brains too soft and sludgy, trotters too gelatinous, etc.

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  5. It looks yummy. I actually like liver but find the smell of kidneys off-putting, dislike the texture of tongue and have not had heart for years. When we used to keep pigs would ditch the heads! And the trotters! Hope you enjoy the fruits of your labours.

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  6. I’m not a vegetarian but I may as well be, for all the meat I eat. I certainly don’t enjoy dealing with the raw stuff (so seldom do), and generally opt for fish or chicken if I’m in a restaurant, if not a veggie-type pizza or pasta. Bacon, of course, does not count as meat. It is in a category of its own, most deservedly, in my opinion 🙂

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  7. Well done to you! It’s more than I could have done, even though I agree in principle with using the whole animal.

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  8. I don’t mind liver, tongue, cheeks but kidneys, brains, heart and tripe would make me feel very ill with the thought of having to eat it.

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  9. Wow, good for you. As a former vegetarian, I am not anywhere close to using the whole animal…I hope the pate is good!

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  10. I love the principle of using the whole animal, but when it comes to eating those other parts I just can’t do it. I tried liver once, I can’t remember exactly what I cooked with it, but it was supposed to be disguised by the other ingredients/flavours – it didn’t work!
    I do wonder how much of it was psychological though. If someone else had made it, and I didn’t know exactly what the meat was, I suspect I would have had no problem eating the lot.

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    • This is the main reason I made pate – it stops the liver resembling liver! Apparently I should leave it for a couple of days before eating, but the fridge does smell good at the moment, which is promising.

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  11. Have you/he tried it yet? I’m really interested to know if it worked out well. If it did, I’ll have a go myself in the New Year. I’ve got the perfect dish for making it (a beautiful Le Creuset dish bought in a charity shop), and making a whole one and freezing slices is a great idea.

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    • We tasted it at lunchtime – Mr Snail liked it, but I wasn’t so keen. There would need to be much less liver in it to suit my tastes, But, it was easy to make and for those who like liver or like the taste but not the texture of liver it’s a great dish.

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  12. Great post! I think two things that make a difference are growing up with thrifty parents and eating all parts from the beginning; the other is learning to be self-sufficient due to low income. I’ve been very lucky on both scores, I think. My Mum made pickled pigs’ feet a couple of times, we had heart frequently (simmered with spices, cooled and sliced for sandwiches), as was liver. I bought brains once, didn’t really know what to do with them and in the end the dog enjoyed them. Haven’t had tripe or lungs yet. I love liver, even a wee bit of it raw before I cook it, and am always sad when I get a chicken or turkey that’s missing the giblets. I’d love to try making paté, but haven’t had the chance yet.

    Thanks for a truly offal post. LOL ~ Linne

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