We wouldn’t want to be heartless – especially on valentines day.
So off we went to Butcher Kluge and ordered some lamb’s hearts early in the week. The fact that they had to look up prices and phone the supplier indicates that we are now well and truly off the trodden path. (This is also time to remind ourselves that we are trying to eat slaughterhouse-waste rather than exotic stuff that requires extra animals to be killed. This is meant to be a sustainability rather than an artisan project.)
Today’s recipe is not for those in a hurry, it requires a lot of preparation and a cooking time of nearly 3 hours! Any good recipe starts with chopping onions, ours were particularly pokey – tears on valentines.
Add wine and bread and reduce to a fragrant stuffing….
While the stuffing is reduced it is time for the gory bit:
The hearts need to be trimmed and blood-clots have to be removed.
Even the addition of some fresh sage and a posh cookbook fail to make this look very appealing…
After cooling down the stuffing, fill it into the lambs’ hearts
then cover with bacon and add some stock:
Ready for the oven (potato in a supporting role):
Settle in for a movie or take a long walk – the oven time is 2.5 hours and our side dish rutabaga only takes 20 mins of boiling.
Nearly 2 hours in things are starting to look yummy … and we get started on the rutabaga.
And here for the finished product. It tasted great, but after all that work and cooking it really should. Sustainability rating is great for the cheap ingredients, but we have to make deductions for the need to roast for 3 hours.
Let’s keep this one strictly for valentines only.
Things are heating up in the scary kitchen! We found a new local butcher with very fair prices and a willingness to supply almost any part of the animal on pre-order. We hadn’t ordered anything this time, but somewhere they found some Pig’s kidneys for us:
The diet of an animal is mostly reflected in the kidneys, so we are happy that this pig was grass-fed. I would not want to eat the kidneys of an indoors pig reared on antibiotics! Feeling more confident about the taste to expect, we now tried to improve the texture by cutting out some of the gristly bits:
The recipe from Ferguson’s The Whole Beast, which I had ordered from Hundt Hammer Stein, suggested chopping the kidney into bite-sized chunks and coating them in a mix of ground mustard seeds and flour:
After 2 minutes on each side a mix of red wine and Worcestershire sauce was added, then cooking on medium ‘until the ingredients had the chance to meet’ (Ferguson). After introductions were made, we invited the finished kidneys to the plate to meet some local potatoes and a dollop of our cabbage&apple ferment.
Not looking so scary now, are we?
In fact the texture was really smooth, just like having steak medaillons…
…for a fraction of the price: about €3 to feed 3 people on a grass-fed piece of organic meat!
Fermentation is a great technique to preserve food over long periods of time, thereby reducing food waste and need for transportation. It can also make nutrients more accessible and has many pro-biotic advantages. An expert on this matter is Alexis from Edible Alchemy and today we tried out a recipe described in her webinar.
The speed of fermentation is dependent on surface area so it is a good idea to chop everything evenly – in our case cabbage and apples. Then give it a good kneading and press all the moisture out. This should only take a few minutes depending on the amount you are fermenting.
Press the vegetables firmly into a jar and then add salt water so everything is covered.
The bits that are poking out into air will rot and compost so one trick is to put a weight on top, like a coin of celery or a leaf of cabbage. It is recommended not too close the lid too tightly and put a plate underneath in case of overflow. This is a ‘living creature’ and levels might change and need adjusting. Any vegetable matter that does rot can be scooped off and refilled with salt water. Store outside of direct sunlight!
This is what the ferment looks like after one week. We liked the taste so we put this jar in the fridge to stop (or rather slow down) the fermentation process. The second jar is still fermenting just for curiousity’s sake.
There is a lot of cabbage coming through in my bio-region at this time of the year and this is a great way of using and preserving it all!