Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hairy Bar Snacks

How to make save mony on supermarket pork promos and make Pork Scratchings along the way.
It's this time of year that the supermarkets start having their pork promos. You can pick up a whole, or half a pig for about 1.20Euro a kilo. And the supermarket will cut it up for you free of charge.
We didn't have tons of dosh last week, thanks to all the end of year fetes so we bought a shoulder (again).

If you zoom in on the label you'll see that this baby was 1.40 per kg and cost 11.21 so it was 8 kilos of shoulder.
Step one is to drink the beer, and step two is to sharpen the knives. My attitude to all this is that I'm not a trained butcher so I don't expect the results to be pretty. I'm sure the more I do it, the better I'll get.
I took the wrist end (do pigs have wrists? I'll bet there's a butcher's term for the joint) off and will use that as a little roast. Kept the skin and fat on it. I then removed te one from the shoulder and gave it to the dogs. Who were well pleased.
I then trimmed off the skin (to be used for the pork scratchings later) and cut out the biggest, neatest, least scraggy bit of meat which rolled up nicely for another roast.
the rest of the meat I cutt into stewing sized cubes and packed in freezer bags at about 1lb 500g each. I got five bags out. So that should make five meals for 11 euros. A bargain. Here are the finished portions.

Now, the Pork Scratchings. The last time I did this with a promo shoulder I threw the skin and fat away. This time I wanted no waste so I did a bit of research on the net and found that Pork Scratchings are very popular, but recipes are few and far between. I cut the skin into big chunks and put it into the heavy cast-irone cocotte, with a bit of olive oil.

I put this, with its lid on, into the wood burning stove which was alight anyway, as it heats the kitchen. I left it for about an hour, in a hot oven, and I could hear it banging, popping and hissing.
I took it out when it was golden, threw in a handfull of coarse salt and lit it cook a bit more. The skin was crispy, the fat crunchy and there was about 500ml of fat.
The scratchings drained overnight and were a success.

Credit for the title of this post goes to the Pork Scratchings web site. We used to call them "turkey scabs" or "Pommy biltong"



At 4:06 pm, Blogger dND said...

They look really good, I can feel my waistline expanding just looking at them.

I took advantage of the pork offers just before Christmas. The shoulders now reside in the freezer as various pork casseroles and pork burgers.

I also bought the belly pork and from that I've had a go at making bacon and rillettes of pork which needs pork fat for cooking and sealing after. So the pork fat rendered from the scratchings could be used for that and then everything would have been used.

I rendered the fat off the shoulders but my cooking arrangements are still a bit primitive (a microwave and a 2 ring hotplate) that making crackling took far to long and I eventually gave up. It's crazy but in the supermarket here, pork fat cost almost the same per kilo as the belly pork.

Now if you can come up with some ideas for the mountain of French beans I grew and froze last year...

At 7:39 pm, Blogger Stew said...

bacon - are you smoking it? I've had 2 goes at making slated ham but it has never gone well. I need to get me a local old boy to show me how

and the beans - haricots verts or haricots blancs?

When we were in England out butcher used to GIVE me chicken carcasses for soup after he had taken off just the breasts & legs. he also gave me pigs trotters and once half a head. here in France you pay top dollar for the "lights & lungs"

At 7:42 pm, Blogger pecheur said...

Well I've been looking for an excuse to go see the town butcher. He's a nice enough guy, but with his bloody (with real blood, not a British cuss word) apron and always sharpening his knives when I am driving by and sneaking a peek in his shop, I've avoided him. But that pork looks mighty good.

At 11:06 am, Blogger katiez said...

Now I know the part I'm missing when I eye those big hanks of pig... the beer! I keep thinking I should do it with wine...
And I may need to get bigger knives...
Do you make pig cutting house calls?

At 6:12 pm, Blogger dND said...

Beans are the long green variety. The bacon isn't smoked just dry cured in salt and spice. So not like UK bacon but not bad. However just got a mag with plans for a smoker in it so that's another thing for the 'to-do' list!


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