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Wind Ridge Farm: Soay Lamb and Potbelly Pig Recipes
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Soay Lamb and Potbelly Pig Recipes


Obviously you can roast a thawed hind leg like any other traditional Leg Roast. Depending on butchering age a single hind leg might weigh anywhere between 3 and 10 pounds. Pastured or wild pork will have a somewhat richer flavor than commercial penned pork because of the increased exercise the pastured animal will have had compared to the penned varieties. The loin can be roasted whole or cut into chops and grilled, or the chops pounded flat, battered and fried. Chunked meat can be stewed (Potbelly is excellent for Stroganoff!) or used in soups. Ground meat can be put into Tacos, chili, or meat loaf, etc. These are all recipes any traditional American or European cookbook will probably already have. So what follows are a few of the more exotic recipes people have asked for, that they have had trouble finding in commercial cookbooks and enjoyed at our dinner table.

Potbelly Pressed Meat for Cold Lunch meat or boneless Hot Roast

Traditionally lamb is used this way to make the meat for Gyros, and this is an adaptation of a Lamb recipe from Chef Alton Brown, from the Food Network’s " Good Eats ".

This is intended to be a more dry dense somewhat aromatically spicy meat loaf (not hot spicy) for slicing for sandwiches, rather than moist like a traditional Roast.

Take 2 pounds of lean meat, with it very chilled or semi frozen, cut into chunks or strips small enough to fit in your meat grinder and then coarse grind. Chill again for an hour or so and then fine grind. (Grinding is a step that should not be skipped, this will ensure the fibrous portions of the sinew will be broken down. A food processor surprisingly does not accomplish this, and unlike stews or roasts which are slowly cooked, fast cooking will not break down the connective tissue. I skipped this step the first time I made this and there were areas of stringy strands in the final product. The reason for chilling the meat thoroughly before and between steps is so the heat of the meat grinder does not heat up the meat and start to melt the fat which will make it harder to grind the meat since it will start to stick in the grinder. I’ve found if I take a cold pack and freeze it over a piece of cardboard to match the shape of the motor casing of my grinder and place that over the motor housing during grinding, that helps as well.)

Take one medium onion, chop it enough to get it to fit in a large food processor and process till minced (about 5-10 seconds) Remove the onions from the processor and place on a tea towel, pull up the corners and twist to squeeze out the juice. Freeze the juice to save it for a soup recipe.

Put the meat and the onions in the food processor with:

Process on high until it turns into a meat paste (about 60-90 seconds).

Turn it out onto some plastic wrap. Form it into a loaf and then wrap tightly, twisting the ends of the plastic and excluding any air. Place in a loaf pan and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the plastic and Bake uncovered at 350 F for 1 hour. Immediately drain, then place a second loaf pan on top of the meat in the first loaf pan. Add about an inch of water in the second pan to put some pressure on the meat loaf. (Or you could use a foil wrapped brick). Allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Traditionally the meat loaf is placed on a spit and roasted in a rotisserie fashion, but a glass loaf pan is a close second.

Gyros are traditionally served with sauted onions and sliced tomatoes with a cucumber sauce on pita bread.

Cucumber sauce for Gyros.

Take a whole cucumber, peeled and seeded, then dice it and place in a tea towel, sprinkle with a little salt about a 1/2 teaspoon, and press it until the pieces are fairly dry.

Put the diced cucumber in a bowl and put 12 oz plain yogurt in the tea towel. Pull up the corners and slowly twist to force out the whey. When a little of the white curd is starting to be forced through the towel, it should be dry enough. Put the yogurt curds in the bowl with the cucumber, add

Stir to combine, cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to a week.

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Irish Potbelly Bacon

Debone the hind leg. This is easiest with it hanging. Simply scrape the bone spiraling down and the meat will come off in a torus (doughnut shape). Deboning will increase the surface area to mass ratio and eliminates the need for an injector. As the meat ages it will lose the torus shape and will look like a boneless roast. Age the meat in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks*, then put it into the brine and evacuate the air from the bag. Allow it to soak for another three weeks in the brine, in the refrigerator. This is a weak brine and the finished ham does not need to be soaked or washed prior to cooking. Pour a good beer over the ham and bake covered at 225 F for 2 hours.

BRINE (for a 3-5 pound ham)

*Three weeks is the longest that I've managed to age it without spoiling. However there are a lot of variables that could result in spoilage and 3 weeks is definitely pushing it. Normally I only aim at 3 days to one week. If it's a refrigerator that gets opened frequently the temperature can rise just enough to allow bacteria and fungus to grow. The more you check it the more likely this will happen. However if you don't check it, before you know it, it's blue and fuzzy and unsalvageable. The longer it ages, the more tender it will be, but spoiled is spoiled. Aging is basically an aseptic decomposition. The temperature is what inhibits bacterial growth, but just a degree or two higher than you think and it can be wasted. If it looks fuzzy or slimy or if it smells funky, then it was too long. If you are worried about aging the meat, you can skip it and just slice the bacon very thin.


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These are not greasy at all, unlike every commercial variety I have ever tried.

16-18 pounds of coarse ground Lean Potbelly meat. Mix thoroughly with

In a very large stock pot Simmer 700 cc by volume Pinhead Oatmeal (a.k.a. Groats) in 2500 cc Water until it is a thick porridge consistency (about 30-40 minutes). Add the meat mixture and mix thoroughly. Chill in refrigerator overnight and then Fine grind the mix, chill for another 2 hours and stir to recombine the liquid that will have tried to settle out of the mix and then stuff into sausage casings (30 mm or so) and freeze. I’ve found the easiest way is to stuff it into one long sausage coil, or periodically use some string to tie a section into a link, then freeze the sausages and then either break or cut it into sections for freezer portions. If you are using fresh sausage casing (which is more delicate than what is used for smoking) the traditional method of twisting the sections into links, seems to have a tendency to simply pop the casing and spew your sausage mix all over the counter.)

To cook them, place the frozen sausages in a skillet with about a half inch to an inch of plain water, cover and steam for 20 minutes over medium to high heat making sure the water doesn’t boil off too quickly, then remove the lid and cook off the remaining water, then brown to your liking.



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Goetta is an old German breakfast favorite and variations of recipes can be found on many pinhead oatmeal (groats) packages. Some prefer it fried and served with syrup, (this will usually be for a heavier oat mix such as 2 pounds of meat for one pound of uncooked oats) others prefer it seasoned with salt and pepper, or maybe even some salsa and/or cheese. I prefer a meatier mix. You can use the tougher parts of the pig for this, since the meat is cooked prior to grinding, most of the collagen has been broken down, and it makes grinding much easier. You can also add the kidneys, heart, spleen and tongue. In many ways this is reminiscent of the Scottish dish Haggis in that you use the less choice parts of the animal with oats. You can also use this trick (grinding cooked meat instead of raw) for any stuffed sausage as well. My version ends up being about half meat and half oatmeal by volume after cooking. The higher the meat ratio, the more difficult it is for the loaf version to set, and the more likely that stuffing it into casings will work better. In a pinch, this could also be browned and used in place of other meat for tacos, chili etc.

10 pounds of pork trimmings, simmered in about 2 gallons of water for about an hour with two large onions. Drain the meat and onions, but save the broth.

Grind the meat and onions through coarse and then fine grinds. Set aside.

Cook the pinhead oatmeal (2 pounds) in the broth with 2 bay leaves, simmer and stir until it is thick and bubbles splattering like a volcano. Be careful not to let it stick to the bottom of the pan or it will burn.

Stir in the meat and spices:

Pour into loaf pans and refrigerate. (Stores well in freezer) cut off slices and fry until golden brown. Serve sweet with maple syrup or honey. Or serve savory with salt and pepper, maybe with salsa or cheese, or top with a fried egg.

Instead of loaf pans, you could also allow it to cool and then stuff into sausage casings. This is very reminiscent of Bratwurst in flavor and texture.

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Potbelly Ham

Debone the hindleg. This is easiest with it hanging. Simply scrape the bone spiraling down and the meat will come off in a torus (doughnut shape). Deboning will increase the surface area to mass ratio and eliminates the need for an injector. As the meat ages it will lose the torus shape and will look like a boneless roast. Age the meat in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3 weeks in the brine, then cook and serve. This is a weak brine and the finished ham does not need to be soaked or washed prior to cooking, but you probably would not want to cook the meat in the brine, since that will be too salty. Pour a good beer over the ham or a can of chunked pineapple and bake covered at 225 F for 2 hours. Then sprinkle some brown sugar over the meat and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered at 400F. Allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes prior to slicing. The leftover juice makes a great base for Split Pea Soup, or French Onion Soup.

BRINE (for a 3-5 pound ham)

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George's Potbelly Pate Souffle

Wash and pat dry the meats. Cut them into uniform sizes. Braize them to the medium rare stage in a shallow pan over low to medium heat with the salt and pepper with a little olive oil. The different organ meats cook at different rates, so you will have to watch them and pull out pieces as they are done rather than waiting until the whole thing is done as then some of the meat will be well done instead of medium rare. Set the meat aside and then caramelize the onion. Deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of beer, dry cider or wine or balsamic or rice vinegar. In a pinch you could use water with a dash of tobasco.

Put the meat in a food processor and process until it is in little tiny uniform bits (probably about 30 seconds). In order to blend it smooth you will need some liquid which often is sufficient in the caramelized onion with the glaze in the pan. Add the onion and glaze, herbs and garlic and process until smooth. Add the egg yolk(s) and process another 30 seconds. It should be about the same consistency as spackle. If it's too dry add another egg. If it's too liquid add a few crackers (potato chips or corn chips would work too. If you are going for gluten free, you could add a little garbanzo flour or potato starch, corn starch etc.) and process again. Fold the pate mixture with the egg whites and scrape into a baking dish that has been lightly buttered and floured (again, if aiming for gluten free, use potato starch or some other non-wheat flour.)

Bake uncovered at 350F for 20-30 minutes. It should have puffed up and formed a few tiny cracks with browning around the edges. Remove from heat and grate some parmesan cheese on top, enough to cover the pate. Serve with something to scoop with (crackers, toast, tortillas etc) and maybe have on the side some sour cream with chives or dill weed.

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Stock is best described, the way I make it, as liquid bone. The flavor and mouthfeel that stock adds as opposed to water in soups and stews is indescribeably delicious. It is the kind of thing you would not believe unless you have experienced it.

After deboning either a sheep or pig carcass, (or a mix for that matter) put the bones in a pressure cooker. (One boar skeleton will fit easily into a 7 quart jar capacity canner/cooker) Feel free to toss in a couple vegetables or your favorite spices but I do not add salt during the canning. I only add salt at the time of meal preparation. When properly pressure canning salt is not necessary. Adding it for flavor is something else. Add enough water to get it to 1/2 to 2/3 full (2-3 gallons) and cook at about 15 pounds pressure. You may need to tap on the side of the canner or try to lift one side once in a while to make sure it is not cooking down too fast. You don't want to burn it by boiling off the water. I cook it for about 5 hours the first day and then turn the fire off and go to sleep. This kind of cooking is sure to have killed anything in there and bacteria aren't going to crawl in overnight if you have a pressure cooker with a properly fitting lid. The next morning I check the water level, usually not having to add any water, turn it on and cook it for about another 2-3 hours. I don't know why, but allowing it to cool over night and then cooking a second time seems to result in a better stock.

After it has cooled enough to handle the cooker, open it and strain off the liquid. The bones at this point should be crumbly. We give the solids at that point to the dogs. There should be about 3-5 quarts of liquid. This is poured into quart sized canning jars. The canner is cleaned and then the jars are processed for canning at 15 pounds pressure for 45 minutes, in accordance with the canner's manufacturer. Be sure to add a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to the boiling water during canning (in the water outside the jars) to prevent spalling, which is basically the minerals in the water crystallizing on the outside of the jars. If you forget and this happens, it doesn't seem to affect the stock in the jars. It just looks odd, and the novice will think that something horrible has happened. Properly sealed jars will last for several years in the pantry and are a quick soup base on those days that you don't feel up to a lot of work.

One thing to avoid during canning is using the quick release for the pressure. Allow the processor to cool on the stove and don't release the pressure or open the lid until the whole thing is cool enough to touch comfortably. If you don't wait the pressure differential will make the jars boil over and a portion of the the stock will wind up in the boiling water instead of the jars.

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Curried Pork

Man that was good! Lamb would probably have been even better!

You know those days when things don't go exactly right for a few days in a row? You look in the fridge and there's a bit of leftovers from a couple days that don't seem to mesh? I had about a pound of leftover somewhat overcooked and therefore a little tough ends of pork loins with about 2 cups of meat juice plus or minus the beer that I'd poured over it prior to cooking the previous day and my own personal blend of spices (salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ground bay leaves, cumin and white, black and red peppers). There was also about a cup of cooked, previously frozen peas, chicken eggs...because this is a farm, and I started to look around the pantry and crisper drawers. Dried peppers... onions... garlic... celery... couscous... Wait a minute, where'd that come from? I was thinking Lo Mein, but couscous sounds interesting...

Put into a large dutch oven over mild heat and simmer until all is tender (that day that was about an hour)

In a separate medium saucepan simmer 3 cups water with a 1/4 teaspoon salt. When the water is hot pour in the dried couscous, remove from heat and let steam, covered for 5 minutes, then stir in the peas.

When the couscous is cooked, stir an egg into the meat mixture (in the same manner as egg drop soup or poached eggs...when the liquid is simmering, turn off the heat and stir in a raw egg. The residual heat of the liquid will cook the egg)

Put a serving spoonful of couscous in a bowl and a ladle of the curried pork and enjoy!

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Falapork and Falamb

This is my version of falafel. The not so secret ingredient is meat. Lamb or pork works well, as does a mix. If you want a vegan version simply omit the meat, but we think it tastes much better with the meat included.

Soak covered overnight (18-24 hours) in 5 cups water, at room temperature
then drain and set them aside.

In a spice grinder (dedicated coffee grinder), grind into a fine powder,
In a food processor, working in batches, process into meat paste (roughly 15-30 seconds at high speed).

Next in the processor, process the rehydrated peas and chickpeas into a dough (roughly 3 minutes at high speed). Then blend the meat and the spice mix together with the garbanzo dough thoroughly. Form the mixture into meatballs each about 3/4 the diameter of a golf ball (roughly 1 1/2 inches).

Bake uncovered in a shallow pan at 400F for about 20 minutes.
Serve with a spicy barbecue sauce and have available toothpicks or skewers for spearing the meatballs and dipping.

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Mountain Oysters (seriously)
Mountain Oysters are the euphemism for testicles. Few in America have tried them because few places offer them. Like the other organ meats, they are best when cooked the same day that the animal is butchered and their quality drops off rather quickly after that. Freeze them immediately if you don't plan to cook them that day. When cooked properly they have a soft texture and the flavor is close to a properly cooked piece of the tenderloin of the same animal with maybe a hint of cream.

The biggest problem in cooking them is the texture of the raw state. There is a very tough fibrous sheath encasing them. Unless you are very practiced in filleting the sheath off of the meat, what will result is mashing the edible portion into an unuseable paste. There are two techniques for the novice. Either freeze the testicles and then peel off the sheath while frozen, allow them to thaw a bit and then fry or sautee them like liver, or cook them whole and peel them after they are cooked.

I think they are best served sauteed, or sauteed, cubed and served in a garlic alfredo sauce over linguine. Many cultures will remove the sheath and then batter them, deep fry and serve them with a cocktail sauce. Soay testicles are large enough with a rich enough flavor that two testicles is a good portion of meat for one person. Potbelly testicles are large for their size but significantly smaller than Soay. Figure 6 Potbelly testicles per serving.

If you sautee the "Oysters" whole in their sheath (tunica albunigea if you want to look it up) and then refrigerate them overnight, you should be able to gently cut open the sheath and peel it away from the meat. The whole "Oyster" at this point, without its sheath will look like an egg made out of bratwurt. The flavor and texture too is very similar to bratwurst. (I mean real bratwurst like you'd get in Germany or a few regions in America with a heavy dose of German heritage that sell the real thing, not a famous national brand that sells Italian sausage under the name of Brats. Brats should be grey and of a very fine texture, not pink and globular. That is because Brats are made with meat cooked first prior to grinding. If the sausages look like they have raw meat in them, those are not Brats. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with Italian sausages. They have their place. I just think that they should call them by their right name. It's a culinary sin to mislabel them like that, but enough of that rant.)

The similarity of Brats in flavor and texture to cooked Mountain Oysters makes me wonder if Brats were originally made to resemble them. When you butcher a sheep, you only get enough "oysters" to feed one person. The "Oysters" also have a very short shelf life. They spoil quickly and so should either be cooked or frozen that same day. In most cultures, only the people doing the butchering or castrating get that delicacy, and they cook them up the same day, so it makes sense that someone along the way would have found a way to mass produce copies of them. A wonderful breakfast sandwich is an "Oyster" cut into disks and fried just long enough to get it hot again. Then put it in a toasted sandwich with a fresh chicken egg fried over easy and a slice of muenster cheese.

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Fried Liver, Spleen and Kidneys (again, seriously)

The organ meats decline in quality quickly. I've never been impressed with the quality in any grocery store that I've tried. Many cookbooks recommend soaking them in milk for a few hours or a day or more before cooking. That is to counteract the change in flavor of the meat compared to fresh. It doesn't compare to fresh. If you like liver from the grocery store, you will probably love the real thing. If you absolutely detest the stuff in the grocery store, you will probably consider fresh to at least be edible.

Freshness is paramount and preparation is either a tie or a close second. Overcooking makes them tough and even a little rancid tasting. Medium rare is the ideal for both flavor and texture. The spleen and kidneys have a slightly firmer texture than the liver and a slightly milder flavor.

Removing the bile ducts from the liver is important. The easiest way to do this is after the liver has been extracted, to simply bluntly dissect out the ducts by pinching around the big central area of ducts and teasing the meat away from all that connective tissue. Do this along each branch until each lobe is done. It might look like the liver had a grenade go off in it by the time that it is done, but if you cook that side down first, by the time it is done, most people won't notice.

Rub the meat down with a little olive oil, sprinkle with powdered Garlic, Powdered Onion and white pepper and then sautee them 3-5 minutes per side for the liver and spleen and about an extra minute or two for kidneys and another couple minutes for whole Soay testicles. Potbelly testicles will cook at about the same rate as the kidneys. Remove the meat from the pan and allow it to rest covered for about 5 - 10 minutes before serving. The traditional side dish for Liver is caramelized onions. Alternately, you might try making Pate, or cubing the meat and basically putting it into a pie shell with a scoop or two of leftover stew.

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Kosher Ham (No, that is not a joke) and Kosher Irish or Canadian Bacon.

Obviously there is no way to make pork kosher. However, using essentially the same brine recipe as making a brined pork ham above, you can brine a Soay thigh and make something that looks and tastes very much like a traditional ham, and reminiscent of corned beef, but it is made from Lamb, not pork. When I make my Kosher hams I increase the amount of garlic to a half tablespoon of minced garlic (plus 1/2 cup each of sugar and Morton's Tenderquick in 3 cups water, plus spices. I usually use freshly ground white pepper and a few bay leaves.) If you brine the loins and do a hot smoke/cooking method it is very much like Canadian Bacon. If you plan to debone the thigh, take that into consideration at butchering. A Soay pelvis is a little different from a potbelly's and when it comes time to split the pelvis, I find it is easier with the sheep to cut out a wedge of the symphysis. After the animal has been gutted, then fillet the meat off of the ventral pelvis (the part you are looking at right after gutting, on either side of the symphysis, while the carcass is on its back). While retracting the meat laterally, a few vertical incisions should peel the meat off of the pelvis allowing exposure of the hip joint. Go ahead and open that joint capsule, but don't cut the meat deeper than that if you still plan to hang it by the back legs. On a Soay pelvis, there are a lot more bony prominences and filleting the meat off the ventral side of the pelvis is easier with the carcass laying on its back as opposed to hanging by the hind legs.

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Stewed Lamb Arms (forelegs)

Soay legs are considerably longer than potbellies. So getting them to fit into my blue enamel pan requires cutting the elbow tendons and folding the limbs. Two limbs rubbed with a few tablespoons each of olive oil and minced garlic are then sprinkled with ground white pepper. One to one and a half cups of liquid are added to steam the legs. You could use beer, wine or one time I used a can of stewed tomatoes. Aluminum foil is placed over the pan and then the lid is set into place. The reason for both is that the limbs sometimes curl while roasting and without the aluminim foil, the lid can be knocked out of place. Roast them at 250F for 3-4 hours or until it is reasonably easy to get to the joints to cut the sections of limbs apart. Then place the parts back into the pan and pour over them:
Roast another 2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bones.
Remove the bones, replace the lid and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.

I like this served over cous cous with green peas and a side of caramelized carrots.

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Lamb Breakfast Sausage
These taste similar to a Savory Pork Sausage but have a little smokiness from the lamb and are not as fatty. For approximately 12 pounds of lamb trimmings, cubed, thoroughly chilled and tossed with:

Ground spices (use a dedicated coffee grinder) Dried, loose or minced spices Grind the meat on coarse, then fine grind. You get a more even distribution of spices if you toss the meat cubes with the spices before grinding.

Package into plastic tubes or zip seal bags in log forms. Chill to semi frozen. Slice into patties. Separate them with either parchment paper or plastic and freeze.

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George's High Protein Variable Cookies

Particularly in the elderly and the chronically ill, people tend to crave comfort foods at the expense of ignoring their meals. For many people comfort foods are high in carbohydrates and fat but low in protein. Carbohydrates provide quick energy but contain no amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Without protein we waste away. Before that happens the proteins get depleted in the blood. That reduces the osmotic pressure that keeps water in the blood stream. The water has to go somewhere and what it does is leak out of the blood vessels and collect in the spaces around the heart and lungs giving people a cough and makes them struggle to breathe. It collects around the intestines and makes their belly look fat despite that they are effectively starving. It collects in the dependent soft tissues like the feet if the person is ambulatory. To the untrained eye, this might appear to be congestive heart failure when in this case the problem isn't specifically the heart, it's the general lack of protein in the blood. Diuretics are often used for congestive heart failure, but if the problem is lack of protein, water pills will further deplete the water that is still in the blood and increase the risk of clots and precipitous drops in blood pressure without dealing with the basic issue.

No, these cookies do not contain meat, but this is an often requested recipe because the ever expanding nutritional problems plaguing Americans. It deals with Gluten Free requirements, Peanut allergies as well as diets poor in fiber and protein. They can also be made Vegetarian and even Vegan. These are in no way intended to be a staple of the diet. They are intended to be one more thing that you can do to help your sick and elderly loved ones who are having problems get a comfort treat that's healthier for them.

Chickpeas (eliminates issues dealing with allergies to grains, gluten, peanuts and soy and they are relatively easy to grow, dry and store on the homestead in temperate climates) You can use canned but fresh tastes better. Take ½ cup of dried chickpeas and rehydrate them in a large stock pot of water for 4-12 hours. Turn on the heat and once they are simmering cook them for 20 minutes. Either fish them out or allow them to cool and drain them. (You don't want to be dealing with a large pot of hot water doing straining and risk spilling and burning yourself.) Once they are cool, put about 2 and ½ cups of them into a high speed food processor and process them into a dough. This will probably take 5-10 minutes to get all the lumps reduced to smooth and it will be loud. If salt is not a dietary concern, you may want to add about a tablespoon of salt at this time and give it a few seconds in the processor to combine it (yes that was tablespoon, because chickpeas are rather bland). If you need to restrict salt then go heavy on spices for flavoring.

At this point you have a cookie dough ready to be flavored, sweetened, formed and baked. The possibilities are endless.

You can sweeten the dough with sugar or honey. In place of sugar, I like to take a couple raw carrots. Peel them, cut them into chunks and then add them in the processor and give them a few pulses so as to not pulverize the carrots the way the chickpeas were pulverized, but to effectively mince them. It maintains the carrot flavor better and when you add spices like cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, people tend to think that it's a pumpkin cookie.

You can add dried fruit for flavor and seeds or chopped or minced nuts if you want to increase the protein and allergies allow. If you go over about ½ cup of additions the dough will be a bit dry and crumbly which can be dealt with by adding an egg (again assuming allergies and diet restrictions work out ok.)

If you want to leaven them, you can use the egg above or a ½ teaspoon of baking powder with a scant 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, or the egg in addition to the powders. If you like a harder cookie to gnaw on that will survive a trip in a coat pocket all day, skip the leavening.

Spicing as usual means fresh tastes better. If you have to use pre-ground spices you may want to go heavier. If you omit the salt, go heavier. If I'm using carrots, I tend to like about a ½ teaspoon of mace with ¼ teaspoon of cayenne. If I'm using sugar I tend to use nutmeg and cinnamon. You could use a few drops of peppermint oil. you can brush them with egg and roll them in coconut. Whatever your favorite spices are, try it.

Form them into shapes of about a half of a golf ball or about 1 inch or 2-3 cms in diameter and then squash them into cookie shapes like little hockey pucks or dominoes or whatever shapes you like. You can roll them in sugar and spices like snickerdoodles or leave them plain.

Bake on parchment paper otherwise they will stick to your cookie sheets. The alternate is to fry them a few at a time in about an inch of oil. A wok or small iron skillet works well for that in terms of reducing the amount of oil used. You'd want to use an oil with a high smoke point like peanut, walnut or safflower. Because you are dealing with a rehydrated bean that has been turned into a paste and there are so many variants of water contributed by other additions cooking times and temperatures will vary. Usually they take about 15 minutes at 350F but watch for a nice medium brown around the edges.

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(serves 3)

This is a variation on the Indian Pork Vindaloo crossed with the traditional american pork chops with a few alterations because I like to experiment. Obviously you could substitute any other meat for the lamb. Pork works well.

A loin cut into chops (a boneless loin). For a regular 10 inch cast iron skillet figure on 3 chops each about 3/4 inch thick.

1 medium onion julienned
1/2 bulb of fennel julienned
A heart of napa cabbage julienned (roughly a cup and a half after chopping) note that head cabbage works too. It just takes longer to cook so if you use head cabbage sautee it alongside the onions and fennel bulb.

Spices/Seasoning Ground in a spice blender
Salt (non-iodized) roughly a teaspoon
Turmeric roughly a teaspoon
Cayenne roughly 1/2 teaspoon
Minced Garlic roughly a table spoon
Cumin roughly 1/2 teaspoon
Paprika roughly a teaspoon
Mustard seed roughly 1/4 teaspoon
Worchestershire Sauce roughly 1-2 tablespoons

Heat and oil your skillet. The oiling could be freshly rendered or home canned lard, Olive Oil, Walnut Oil, Avacado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Safflower... What you want is something that is easy to digest and provides nutrition as well as thermal transfer for the food. Most commercial lards have additives for shelf life stabilization which alter how and if they are digested. If you butcher and can your own meat, the layer of fat on top that will naturally form should be a good source of oil / fat to saute in.

Put your fennel and onions (and head cabbage if you are using that in place of one of the softer cabbages) into the skillet and sautee close to the caramelized stage (probably about 15 minutes over low heat with most of the time the pan covered with a tight fitting lid) You might need to check it once in a while, stir and add some sort of liquid. I like Worcestershire, but you could use wine, beer, water, fruit juice, a combination or whatever strikes your fancy. Usually that means a few tablespoons of liquid. About half way through add a half teaspoon of non iodized salt. Kosher and Sea Salt do taste a little better than the boxed non-iodized but you just want to avoid the metallic taste that iodized salt would impart. Used the iodized stuff for baking because you do need some iodine and in most baked goods the flavor will be lost. If you can't get any form of non-iodized salt you might want to go a little heavier with the Worcestershire sauce.

On a separate plate arrange your chops and season them with some ground pepper, non-iodized salt and minced garlic.

Once the Fennel and Onion are starting to caramelize add the napa (assuming you weren't using head cabbage, which if you were procede to the next step) Allow the napa to soften a bit (about a minute or two) and then add your spices.

Many inexpensive spice blends called yellow curry will contain the spices already. The problem is that you don't know when they were ground or how long that they've been stored. If you find them on sale it's worth trying them just to see how you like it unless you are already familiar with grinding and using fresh spices. You might just need to go a little heavier with the pre-made stuff. Fresh is better and ultimately perhaps cheaper if you use a lot of spices, but cost matters too and it's worth trying the cheaper stuff first to see if you want to go with bolder flavors.

It should only take a few stirs to incorporate the spices into the veggies. Turn those out into another pan.

If the skillet looks dry add some more oil or fat (about a tablespoon or two) and then place the chops in the skillet and cover with the lid. cook on low heat for about 3 minutes then open. If they look like they are cooking well (no visible pink) flip them and place the vegggies over the meat, cover and allow to cook for another 3 minutes.

Pull the food out of the pan, allow it to rest for five minutes and serve.

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Eggs Benedict / Hollandaise Sauce / Gravy Tips

If you are raising your own meat and have poultry for eggs you are most of the way there. Basically, this is toast, meat, egg and Hollandaise sauce. Traditionally it is an open faced toasted English Muffin, Canadian Bacon, Poached Egg with Hollandaise but it's not unusual to substitute. If you make your own bread, use a toasted slice of that. The meat could be a slice of home made Irish Bacon (see separate recipe) or a scoop of pulled pork. My favorite meat for this is a scoop of leftover lamb stew. The egg is traditionally poached but I prefer over easy and it need not be a chicken egg. It could be duck or goose or whatever. Obviously a goose egg would be for a much larger appetite or to share. It's intended to have enough sauce that you eat this with a knife and fork and that the egg yolk of the poached egg is somewhere between runny and gooey, not solid so that the flavor of the yolk can combine with the meat and sauce.

The Hollandaise Sauce is what brings the dish together. Chefs renowned around the world keep their recipes secret. The real secret is that it's not that difficult to make really good Hollandaise at home. It is an emulsification typically of butter, lemon juice, ground pepper and egg. It is time sensitive more than difficult so you might want to actually plate the rest of the dish before you add the egg to the sauce. This Hollandaise recipe is for one large chicken egg (usually about 1/4 cup by volume) plus one egg yolk and makes enough sauce for 2-3 servings.

In some sort of double boiler (a round bottomed metal bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water)
melt 2 tablespoons of butter with
1 tablespoon of lemon juice and add
a few grinds of pepper
any optional additions such as a tablespoon of meat gelatin, a drizzle of truffle oil, maybe a squirt of sriracha sauce...or not, whatever you like
allow that to get to simmering

Crack your egg for the sauce into some other container like a small bowl, tea cup or ramekin. The reason for that is so that you can be sure that there are no egg shell fragments and once you add the egg to the butter mixture you are committed to immediate whisking. If you try to crack the egg directly into the cooking vessel you might drop the egg or shells into the sauce and delay when you start whisking thereby cooking the egg before it can be emulsified.

Have the rest of the dish plated
Put an oven mitt on your non dominant hand.
Have a whisk ready.
Have space on and near the stove to work.
Using your gloved hand, take the bowl off the heat that means off of the saucepan of boiling water, add the egg and start whisking. After a few strokes the egg should be incorporated into the sauce so that it is a uniform yellow color and you can put the bowl back on the heat and continue to whisk. At this point you are not trying to take the sauce to a boil or even a simmer, just until it thickens into a gravy. If your water is boiling and the butter was simmering before you add the egg, this should only be about another 20-30 strokes.

Portion the sauce over the rest of the dish and serve.

Hollandaise is good for a variety of dishes, not just open faced sandwiches. It's also good over other meats or even just plain rice if you need an easy to digest meal, say when you are recovering from the flu.

One of my favorite variations for optional additions is about a teaspoon each of sriracha sauce and truffle oil.

But Truffle oil is so expensive!
Yes but it's an ingredient that is used sparingly and keeps very well in the refrigerator, and it is just optional.

But I want a thicker sauce!
Probably you just didn't give it that extra 10 seconds over the heat, but if you want you can add about 1/2 teaspoon of flour and whisk it thoroughly into the butter right before adding the egg. Then whisk it more back over the heat.

You mentioned Gravy Tips?
When you've made gravy and you've already added your starch like flour or cornstarch and there was more fat than you guessed and so the gravy still has a slick of melted fat on top, you can use an egg or two here as well to emulsify that fat into the gravy and you don't have to mess with adding more starch and potentially making the gravy lumpy. The addition of egg to gravy also adds a richness that's difficult to describe. Just remember to whisk quickly so you emulsify rather than simply scramble the egg into the gravy.

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Cheese stuffed meatloaf
Sometimes you look in the refrigerator and realize that there are things in there that you didn't quite like as well as you had hoped, or timing was wrong and things get a little sour and so before you know it there are several little packages left with odd ends of cheeses that are too sharp or sour to really enjoy on their own. Maybe the cheese was turning colors? Don't feel like you have to throw it away. Check with your local physician to be sure but generally even very sharp cheese is not actually poisonous. There is a lot of food waste and you as a farmer know what kind of work went into making that food in the beginning. Turn it into something better. Trim off the discolored parts of the cheese. You might not like the taste but your pigs will. With the core of the remaining cheese, if you don't want to go the route of fondue or souffle consider putting them into something like lasagna, dumplings, scones, even things like cheesecake. Surprisingly to many the addition of either a savory or sweet application for something that otherwise might be discarded is something to be tried. You might try my most recent experiment with which I was very pleased.

About 3 pounds mixed ram and pork finely ground meat
1 chicken egg
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup hummus (not necessary but it was leftovers that I wanted to use and using chickpeas to stretch meat is a cheap, tasty and healthy way to do it.)


1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black peppercorns ground
3 bay leaves ground
1 tsp whole cumin ground
1 med-large dried ancho pepper, ground

Mix everything and spoon into a loaf pan making a large canyon in the center.

Load the canyon with your leftover cheeses or for that matter, leftover whatever. Fold the ground meat over the other ingredients. Form into a loaf and bake at 350F for about an hour. If you are not into cooking, start with an hour and decide how to alter it. If you want something more or less done, then alter accordingly.

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