Working Hands

Pretty hands don’t exist in the kitchen. There are no manicures. No pampered skin, nor painted nails. Instead there are calluses and burns. A half-moon- shaped cut that slices through the nail-bed to the quick requiring a trip to the Emergency Room and three stitches put in with strong black thread. Jergens would be appalled.

Kitchen hands bear the marks of the trade. They know their way around a knife, move from left to right down the board and down the line. They reach into hot pans and hot ovens, retrieving baguettes without fireproof protection, prodding cuts of meat to test for doneness. A medium rare steak should feel like the web of muscle between the thumb and forefinger. Or like your plump lower lip. Full and filled with appeal.

The Gathering Together Farm kitchen crew has hands that speak of their lives. JC’s ring shines on his left hand as he preps onions for filling, dices veg for roasting, takes apart a pig for charcuterie. Ricky’s hands tell of late night music gigs, endless hours holding a guitar, a banjo, a spatula. Ana’s are feminine, but strong. They bear the pinch marks of the Hobart mixer, and the burns from hot oil that she uses to cook fresh potato donuts. Ben’s are made to make pasta: deft fingers creating classic shapes to impart texture from the old countries.

Here, hands shape, and are shaped by, work.

Liverwurst in the Style of GTF…

Liverwurst in the Style of GTF:

If you have a whole pig by chance, make some liverwurst and serve it to a gaggle of friends with red wine and crackers. It makes one feel elementally healthy. Split some firewood or something.

 

 

ingredient

Weight(g)

%

Scraps, shoulder, kidneys

500

33%

Liver

500

33%

Picked head

500

33%

salt

27

1.8%

pink salt

3

.2%

pepper

6

.4%

cardamom

.45

.03%

mace

1.35

.09%

ginger

1.35

.09%

onions

75

5%

Beef middles

 

Place your pigs head in a big enough pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil. Skim all of the scudge that comes to the surface. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add all the normal aromatics (whole carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf) and simmer for 4 hours.

Remove the head from the pot and let cool enough to handle. Strain the poaching liquid. Return it to the pot. When the head is cool enough to handle, pick all the meat from the head. It is a bit gnarl,y but you needn’t be too choosey. Everything but glands and bones is fair game. Don’t forget the tongue. Weigh the harvest from your pig’s head and calculate the recipe.

Julienne the onions and sauté till translucent and beginning to color. Pull off the fire and leave to the side at room temperature.

Weigh and poach all the scraps left over from your butchering, the shoulder sliced into pieces that will fit into the grinder, and any organs such as kidney and heart until cooked through.

Remove from the poaching liquid but keep the pot and liquid on the fire.

Take the still warm head, the bits you were poaching, the onions and the liver and pass them all through the grinder. It will be soupy.

Add all the seasonings and mix well.

Now would be a good time to test the mixture. Lay a piece of plastic wrap  flat on the table and put a tablespoon of the mixture in the middle.

Wrap up the liverwurst like a beggars purse and tie the end. Toss the little liverwurst grenade into the simmering poaching liquid for five minutes. Remove and place in ice water for five more. Taste and correct seasonings.

If it tastes right, and I bet it will, stuff into beef middles.

Place the wursts into a pot that will hold them with room to spare and fill with cold water.  Salt the water generously. Bring  to a simmer over a medium heat and poach until the wursts reach 150°F internal temperature. Drain and cool under cold running water for five minutes. Leave to cool in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Call your friends and enjoy.