Rolled Pig’s Spleen

People venting their spleens has been bad press gastronomically for the organ. Please do not be deterred; spleens are a joy to cook with and eat, and the texture is not dissimilar to liver. Beautifully symmetrical, not wobbly and unmanageable, they are the perfect organ to give offal a good name. In fact they are often used in terrines, their presence overlooked in favor of more glamorous ingredients. This recipe goes a small way to redress the balance. Eat with very thinly sliced raw red onion and cornichons.

I know that I had promised to update on Friday, but a combination of work and a few other things have kept me very busy lately. The lesson learned here is to stop promising to update on certain days. It seems like Murphy’s Law kicks in every time I do.

This is another one of Mr. Henderson’s very simple dishes with a grand total of four ingredients (if you don’t count salt and pepper). Again, I must thank the absolutely wonderful MT Supermarket in Austin for their amazing meat department actually stocking pig spleen. Considering how hard it is finding offal from other animals, it’s a fantastic comfort knowing that I can find almost any piggy part I need at one local place. I’ll detail the frustration of trying to find sheep pluck for Haggis later this month.

The recipe calls for one pig’s spleen per person. I remember my wife walking the door after buying two for dinner and exclaiming, “We have to start eating more offal because it’s so cheap!” Cost for both spleens: $2. After pulling them from the bag, my first impression was that we had purchased two gigantic water leeches.

Laying both spleens out on a plastic sheet, I seasoned them liberally with salt and pepper. Bacon and sage leaves were placed on top.

The pig spleens were tightly rolled up and skewered with toothpicks.

I placed the spleen rolls into an oven safe dish and covered them with chicken stock. I dropped the whole thing into the oven and started cleaning my mandolin so I could get some nice thin onion slices. It was used the night prior for french fries.

The final product sliced into cross sections and plated with the suggested raw red onions and cornichons. On first bite, I was shaken. This was the dish I had be waiting for. While I have tried to enjoy offal in other forms before, it took pig spleen to really open my eyes. The meat was fantastically tender with a delicate, liver-esque flavor enhanced by the smoked bacon and sage; the onions and cornichons pairing perfectly.

Mr. Henderson has himself yet another convert.

One down, one hundred and thirty one to go.

22 thoughts on “Rolled Pig’s Spleen

  1. Did the spleens come pre-flensed?

    20 internets to whoever can place that reference…

    looks great… gotta try this one. On reading it in the book I thought this would be one I’d never do. But you’ve sold it to me.

  2. They were cleaned when we picked them up, yes. I actually want to remake this dish: I found a picture of what the final product looks like if you were to order one from St. John, and they wind the roll much tighter than I had.

    Give it a shot, spleens are so cheap if you don’t like it, no great loss.

  3. Wow. I actually saw pig’s spleen at the Vietnamese supermarket but didn’t buy. Now I will definitely buy them and make this!

    I did get duck gizzards, chicken hearts, black chicken and a mixed soup pack of pig snout, ears, tongue and blood, which made a delicious soup with ginger, lemongrass and bok choy…

  4. They’re very cheap, so get a few if you want to experiment. :)

    That soup sounds delicious! The pig is, indeed, a magical animal.

  5. Is there something that you need to do to prepare the spleen? I tried cooking this, but there was something that felt like a chewy lining making it inedible – almost like silver skin on venison.

  6. Was there a membrane on the spleen? I’ve been lucky in that all of the spleens I’ve bought had already been cleaned and the membrane removed.

  7. There was something on it that looked like a cloudy film, so I tried to pull it off, but everything just started to rip apart, so I figured it wasn’t supposed to be removed! I’ll have to check with our processor to see if there is a way of preparing it for cooking.

  8. Well, we produce naturally raised meat, but we make sure to get back everything possible from our processor. We sell the spleen for $2.50/lb. I’ll have to try preparing it again. When we couldn’t chew it I just put all of the left overs into the food processor and made a sort of pate like paste which we ate on sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, and onion. Tasted yummy that way and no more problem with the membrane.

  9. The idea to turn it into a pate was brilliant! Please let me know how things go if you decide to try again sans-membrane.

  10. Hi, I cooked the spleen yesterday, it was surprisingly delicious. My butcher only had 1 pig in (Gloucester Old Spot), so only one spleen and my guests an I had to make do with only 1 slice each, together with some home made pate to start with. I found your blog helpfully augments Fergus Henderson’s book!

  11. Thanks for the info and experience with pig’s spleen. However, I’d really like to know whether bovine spleen is considered edible ?

    • You know what? I don’t have a good answer for you. I’ll have to ask around. I’ll send you an e-mail when I find out. I’d assume that they’re fine to eat, but better safe than sorry!

  12. Did the spleen have a strong iron-y taste? I just had beef spleen and I had to throw it out because all I could taste was iron.

    • Ya! I wanna know too! I cooked mine for 45 mins @ 350° F, but it’s still a bit pink inside, I’m going for 55 mins..

  13. Great Blog! I’ve heard pork spleen is a iron rich food, and easy for the body to absorb (if you are anemia). My husband tell me to cut out the white part/membrane after cooking as we are not supposed to eat it.

  14. Oh goodness, I can’t help feeling a little freaked-out at the photo of that piglet nose on the tray! It looks delicious cut up and all but its original state did made me feel a little squeamish..

  15. Oh goodness, I can’t help feeling a little freaked-out at the photo of that spleen on the tray! It looks delicious cut up and all but its original state did made me feel a little squeamish..

  16. my grand mother used to simmer melts down with cabbage,carrots and potatoes. salt and black pepper. sure were good.

  17. We had an easy spleen dish from an old Austrian Aunt that I still crave on occasion and I have always been slightly anemic. You only need to remove the tough center vein on the underside and then cut in two inch sections. It is easiest to do if lightly frozen. Then put them on food processor and pulse to a smooth texture. Don’t put to much in at a time or it will not process. Then lightly butter slices of bread and spread ground pork spleen over all about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with good salt and bake at 350 for about 10 mins until redness has just left. I use a toaster oven, but my Mom used the broiled in the large oven for the family. DO NOT overcook. Then I like a little more butter melted on top. Enjoy as an open faced sandwich. It is a bit rich and irony but smooth and delish.

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