The Guardian’s Tim Hayward cooks with Mr. Henderson

I knew that this video was in the works, but I didn’t know when it would be posted.  (Thanks to Rachel and Andy for the heads up!)   Thankfully the wait is now over.

Writer Tim Hayward was fortunate to spend the day with Mr. Henderson cooking a whole hog’s head at St. John and recording the whole thing on tape.  The video is six minutes long, full of fantastic shots of the kitchen of St. John and all of the wonderful food being prepared.  

tim

heads

leaving

fergus

shaving

marrow

head

eating

While I would have loved for a longer video with more instructions from Mr. Henderson, Mr. Hayward explains why that wasn’t possible.

I feel your pain, but let me explain. We were incredibly lucky to get time with Fergus in his own kitchen but you have to imagine a space about 6m x 3m with the regular crew of four guys in it prepping for a regular, sold-out lunch service.

It’s a testament to their professionalism that they let two blokes the size of Fergus and I get in there to cook at all without stabbing us with large knives.

Oh, and I should also mention Sarah, our camera person who was pirouetting through all that boiling fat, hot metal and sharp stuff with her eye clamped to a the viewfinder.

There isn’t a whole bunch of time for any of that ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’ stuff .

I hope the advantage of working the way we do – enthusiastically and with a tiny, agile team – is that we can catch more of the spirit of what’s going on than perhaps something studio-based and more forensic would.

The recipe is all there in text above or on pages 36-37 of the magisterial ‘Beyond Nose to Tail’. It’s simple and I really urge anyone to try it.

All in all, this is a very bright point in my week.  Thank you very much Mr. Hayward for sharing your time with Mr. Henderson with the rest of us.

Guest Post – Stuffed Lamb’s Hearts by Alex Whitney

Welcome to the very first guest post!  I’m starting a new section where anyone who wants to show of an offal dish can submit a post with pictures.  Feel like sharing grandma’s old recipe for squirrel melts?  Are you a wizard with gizzards?  Let me know and we’ll post your hard work here!

I am lucky enough to live near Union Square in New York City, where there are, on Fridays, two lamb farmers, two pig farmers and a goat farmer offering various cuts and variety meats.  Beef and bison are available as well.  There is even a third pig farmer with a better selection of variety meats on Wednesdays – or is it Fridays?

Due to this Happy Circumstance, I have been the honored recipient of many interesting and unusual cuts.  One way to cause a sensation at Whole Foods is to buy a whole pig’s head from Flying Pigs Farm (call them Wednesday night and ask Michael or Jennifer nicely,) and then cart it through the vegetable section in its clear plastic bag.  Its a conversation starter.   I have also acquired pig tails, trotters, tongues, hearts, the occasional medallion and chop, and bacon from them. These particular hearts came from 3-Corner Field Farms, purveyors of lamb: I have found necks, heart, kidneys, tongues, a fine crown of chops, and lamb liver from the various vendors there.  Also landed some goat shanks.

I was raised eating lamb kidneys for breakfast in the late sixties and early 70′s.  I went to The Temple in 2006,  twice, and covered the table with dishes, eating everything in site, with my good friend Nick Scramuzza.  I am especially fond of pig’s feet, crispy like they serve them at Les Halles on Park Avenue, and sweetbreads.

Having recently grilled slices of heart quickly, and appreciating its mild yet-irony, tender goodness, I thought it a worthwhile exercise to do one of The Master’s recipes, specifically, Stuffed Lamb’s Hearts from page 96 of The Whole Beast. the idea is that you make a sage, red-wine and onion stuffing, wrap them in bacon, and braise them in chicken stock for two and a half hours.

I acquired the ingredients, as well as a decent $12 bottle of Rhône: Chateau de La Chaize 2006, a lively, excellent and fruity Gamay.

Hearts must be carefully trimmed: they have a bit of gristle and unwanted fat, and a mostly thin silverskin, yet for the stuffing, it is important that you preserve the integrity of the two chambers which will hold the stuffing.  Practice careful knife work.  A percentage of the hearts you buy will be “damaged” for this purpose.  If one of the receptacles gets cut, you can fake your way through it… a bacon-wrap hides many sins.

Onions and bread cubes and a decent wine makes an amazing stuffing.  Chop the sage fine.

Making the packages is something of an endeavor – I couldn’t really get the floppy things to deal with string and with a few exceptions, I’m not very good at string and meats in any case.  I used bamboo shish-kebab skewers.

I also cut back on the bacon – three per with the heavy slices I had seemed like too much bacon.  (Yes, yes, I know, I just said “…too much bacon.:  Get over it.)

And, for the record, a 90 degree summer day is not the ideal time to braise.  Ah, the sacrifices we make for you, loyal reader.

This is a very rich dish, thanks to the bacon.  They go well with mashed neeps, and Pickled Walnuts. (The acid in pickled things provides a fantastic counterpoint to the
unctuous fattiness in many offal dishes.)  It was quite a success!

My radio interview is up!

Here it is if you happen to not live in the L.A. area, or if you didn’t catch it streaming live online.  My interview starts at about the 36:40 mark, but you should seriously consider listening to the whole show.  I’ve learned a lot by going through the archives.

Also, they posted a link to the recipe for the Pig Trotter and Pheasant Pie, which you can find here, about 3/4′s of the way down the page.

 

For my first radio interview, I don’t think I did too terribly.  It was a lot of fun, and Chef Kleiman really knows her stuff when it comes to interviewing.  It was a fantastic experience, and I’d like to thank the equally fantastic crew at KCRW and the people making Good Food for making it that way.

A few quick things

Whew!  no rest for the weary, right?  At least it’s Friday! Grab yourself a bicyclette and relax tonight!


Tomorrow, my radio interview with Evan Kleiman of Good Food on KCRW will air!  I’m so excited, but also worried.  I hope I come across at least a little interesting. I think the Pig Trotter and Pheasant pie will also make an appearance on Chef Kleiman’s website, where she’s chronicling her pie-a-day adventure this summer.

Good Food airs each Saturday from 11:00am-noon Pacific, locally at 89.9-FM and online at www.kcrw.com.  You can also access the segment after that time at www.kcrw.com/goodfood.


I’ve got another post up over at the always awesome Eat Me Daily.  This time, it’s all about the lungs.  I’m still looking for one to work with.  I’ll keep quiet if you can hook me up!


Have a great weekend!

Smoked Haddock, Mustard, and Saffron

A version of a medieval dish, very yellow and delicious.

First up are two neat links:  Over at Duck Fat and Politics, Mr. Ganey has posted a very intriguing recipe for a version of jugged hare called Hasenfeffer.  Just as interesting it a post at the always fantastic Belm Blog about St. John’s version of the Eccles Cake.  Check them out!

With this post, we finish with the last of the dishes I made for the Brent and Harmony dinner.  Whew!

When Brent told me a few days before the meal that he had started eating small amounts of fish, I almost did cartwheels.  If you ever want to put a smile on a cook’s face, tell them that they’ll be able to feed meat to a recently converted vegetarian.  After a lot of searching through “The Cookbook”, I settled on this dish for its simplicity and the usage of saffron.  Did you know that saffron is so unique with its flavor that there is no real substitute for it?

First I needed some smoked haddock.  Rather than running around town trying to find some pre-smoked haddock, I decided to smoke a few fillets myself.

With the help of my trusty Bradley Smoker…

… two haddock fillets were smoked perfectly in no time flat.  Sometimes things work out so well it’s scary.

Next up was mixing some white wine, a half cup of water, some white wine vinegar, a little of my beloved Coleman’s Mustard, a healthy pinch of saffron and freshly ground pepper all together in a frying pan.

The haddock was then broken up and placed in the same frying pan.  I covered the pan with a bit of foil and placed it in a nice hot oven for about fifteen minutes to get everything warmed up.  When enough time had passed, I pulled the pan out and removed the haddock.  A large knob of butter was added to the pan and whisked into the liquid to make an emulsified sauce.

Here’s the finished dish.  I spooned some mashed potatoes into a bowl, placed a piece of haddock on top of them and poured a bit of the sauce over the whole thing.  Out of all of the different dishes I made for Brent and Harmony, this was far and away my favorite and everyone elses as well.  The flavors all worked together so amazingly well that I can only describe it as a perfect harmony.  The smoked haddock fell apart in my mouth, turning into flakes of smoky goodness, while the sauce brought a wave of sourness, spice and saffron to the table.

For being so easy to make, it’s really amazing how fantastic this recipe turned out.  I’ve decided to keep some smoked haddock in my freezer for emergency situations where I need to whip up a great dinner for surprise guests in a short amount of time.  This dish is a god-send!

One down, sixty nine to go.