For most people Saturday is a day of relaxation, perhaps a spot of shopping, a day out, some socialising or even a trip to support a local sports team. My Saturdays usually involve some meat alchemy. For the past few months Saturdays have been my dedicated production development days. As the business is only registered to make ‘raw produce’ such as bacon sausage and gammon, I tend to save a few scraps from my usual production for my weekends. I’m slowly amassing a folder of tried and tested recipes and processes that I can put into production one day. I hope you’re all ready for our salt beef, it’s frickin amazing, even if I say so myself.
Last weekend saw me playing once more with a bag of dried blood to make the perfect black pudding (iteration number 18 I think). We’ve been making black pudding from the blood of our own animals for many years but we tend to make a softer pudding than what is commercially available. The closest on the market that I’ve tasted to what we traditionally make is the pudding made by Trealy Farm. Their pud also reminds me a lot of the recipe that Lindy Wildsmith has in her book Cured, it’s a recipe from the famed Walnut Tree restaurant, near Abergavenny. I can’t say I’m a connoisseur of black pudding, but I have tried pretty much everything I’ve been able to get my hands on over the past two or three years from ox blood puddings from Ireland, to Polish headcheese blood puddings, Yorkshire tray baked puddings and Caribbean spiced variations.
A softer pudding is great for a sweet French boudin noir flavoured with apples and calvados but there’s room in the repertoire for a more British pudding. Last weekend I tried an old Lancashire recipe, rich with cereals, large chunks of fat and a variety of herbs. It was pretty good, excellent consistency, though there’s definitely room to improve on the spicing. One of my absolute favourites is the Irish Clonakilty pudding, it’s heavy on the pearl barley but it gives the pudding a quality of its own. While searching for new recipes I came across a great little video of Ade Edmondson on YouTube at the Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company. If you’re interested in seeing the pudding made, it’s a great little film.
So, to this weekend. Well, last night I started on the preparation work to make chicharrones. I first came across them at a beautiful charcuterie store called Fatted Calf in the Napa Valley, California. On their counter was a basket of big bags of what looked to me like a cross between a Quaver and a pork scratching. They turned out to be little intense airy melt on the tongue porky crisps made from deep fried rinds. There are many traditional methods of making them, and a few resemble our own pork scratchings, but for me this variation made by 4505 Meats was an absolute winner. So, with a handful of spare rinds I got to work last night on prepping my very first batch, the rinds are currently drying, and hopefully tonight they’ll be ready for the fryer. You’ll just have to wait and see if they make the cut onto the list of Charcutier Ltd products!