Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Whole Hog Part 2 Liver Pate


When we bought half a pig from Martha last week I stored most of it in the freezer with the idea that, bit by bit, I would experiment with cooking the pork in different ways. I also want to explore just how much of a pig we will enjoy eating and which parts are just too funky for us to want to eat again. So Martha bought us some offal together with the muscle cuts to start our experiment. Next time she will bring us other parts of the pig to try, I find it frustrating that generally we eat such a limited percentage of an animal.

I've called this blog part 2 because I've already talked about roasting the large joints. After they were roasted I sliced and cubed the meat and froze it in two-people portion sized containers to use in meals at a later date. I also saved the jelly from the roasting trays, freezing it to use as a stock and gravy base. The dripping has been frozen while I've been looking for the best way to use it and store it. Curiously a video has very recently been uploaded to YouTube about how to do just this by Guildbrook Farm. It's an American video so the dripping is called 'drippings' (which gave us the giggles for the entire video), but it was a timely answer to my query.

Anyway, I have started with some of the easier dishes like a rich and creamy liver pate. I used around 2.5Kg of pig's liver in this recipe and the results are very tasty.
 First I chopped three large onions and softened them in a frying pan with ghee, adding some dried mixed herbs, mixed spice (which is usually used in fruit cake but add a rich, round warmth), salt, pepper, a pinch of paprika. When the onions were soft and the seasonings well incorporated, I removed the onions from the pan draining them as much as possible and put them into a heavy based deep saucepan.
 I gently cooked the liver pieces a few at a time and then added them to the onions and added some boiling water (not quite enough to cover the livers) Then I added some other flavourings including a shot of brandy, 1/4 pint of Kopparberg elderflower and lime cider, tomato puree, lots of garlic, the zest of an orange and a lemon, more black pepper, gluten free Worcestershire Sauce and a dash or two of balsamic vinegar.
 I also added a large handful of frozen hedgerow blackberries. Then I added 500g of butter. The mixture was cooked on a medium-low heat for 30 minutes to allow the butter to melt and blend into the liver mixture and for the flavours to infuse. I checked the taste and adjusted the seasoning a little by adding more salt and more balsamic vinegar.
 After the mixture had cooled for a little while (but not cold), I spooned some into the food processor leaving enough room for it to expand and blended it into a coarse pate for Mr J.
  This photo shows the texture of the pate for Mr J. I then blended another batch for myself that was much smoother. To help make it smoother I added some cool water to the blender. 
 I blended it until it was velvety smooth and then poured it into ramekins and jars.

I melted some more ghee (clarified butter) very gently and poured it over the pate making sure that no pate was protruding through the butter. Once cold and set, I covered the ramekins with greaseproof paper and then food wrap and froze them for later use. The jars had the lids put onto them and I've stored the pate in the fridge as these are not mason jars and there is a risk that the glass would crack in the freezer. I also put some into small plastic freezer tubs and put them into the freezer. It made around 5Kg of pate which should last us a few months.

Next I am going to render the leaf fat (from around the kidneys) into lard and I'll let you know how I get on when it's done.
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