Lately, we have been enjoying the products resulting from the incredible sourcing efforts of Chef K. Aside from the great produce found locally in Homestead, FL, we have had the privilege to receive some products from the Four Story Hill Farm in Pennsylvania (sorry, no website to my knowledge). Mrs. Sylvia Pryzant and Chef K had been in contact with each other, and a small order was placed.
We received the box within a couple of days followed by a phone call from Sylvia. After confessing my ignorance about the products and detailing what my plans were for each, she offered me phone numbers to a couple of clients that also used the product... Daniel Boulud being one and Pierre Calnels (Chef de Cuisine of Le Bec Fin) being the other. Sure, no big deal... I'll just call Daniel Boulud and ask his Executive Chef at Restaurant Daniel how I should treat Cote de Boeuf! I have not called yet, but I'm tempted everyday.
This is lamb belly. We have been trying to procure some for quite some time, and finally found it at Four Story Hill Farm. We created a rub for it using a little of our Black Forest spice and some lamb-friendly herb and spice additions. After slow-cooking it for about 30 hours, I pulled all of the meat off (which wasn't really that much) and folded it into a rosemary and mustard flavored BBQ sauce. It made one hell of a unique sandwich when eaten on a toasted pumpernickel roll.
This is Squealer. Squealer is a suckling Berkshire pig, one of the prized members of the Pryzant's farm.
This is Squealer dissassembled (good butchering practice for me since I don't get to break down pigs everyday. We have plans for the baby Berkshire's various sections. I used the belly on a Sunday special with some poussin (also from Four Story Hill below). The head and shoulder may be used on head cheese or sausage. The hind quarters, or hams, are pressing as of this moment.
Although we are not facilitated to produce dry-aged ham (and our hams are rather tiny), we are taking on this project purely for the experience and fun. Far from Iberico ham, we just want to create our own style of dry-aged pork. We are debating putting a cold smoke phase in between the pressing and the dry-hanging. Since Chef K and I are from Kansas City and South Louisiana respectively, we each have a built desire to smoke all of the pork we get our hands on. I plan to email Jorge Ruiz (babelfish translation from Spanish) in Spain for suggestions or comments here. He is a food scientist and professor who has put many hours into the study of Iberico ham.
Here are 6 poussin coming out of an 8-hour brine to air dry for a day. The Pryzants raise and feed their poussin with a milk-supplemented diet similar to the Bresse chicken diet in France (a practice she observed while living there). The birds were shipped whole with only the feathers removed. After eviscerating them, they were brined and roasted as you see here. The roasting was done in one of my favorite ways... trussed with a pierced lemon in the cavity and rubbed with only sea salt and fresh black pepper. This method in conjunction with the brining and the quality of the birds gave me the absolute best chicken eating experience of my entire life (but then, there is a lot more life to live). One of the Haitian cooks in the kitchen fried the poussin livers which I also have to note was an incredible experience.
In addition to the lemon roasting, I basted it with lemon butter. It was served with griddled potato rosti and wilted baby pea tendrils grown here in Homestead. I wanted to present the chicken in a simple and glorious manner (and with the feet on after seeing the roasted chicken in Heston Blumental's book, 'Perfection'), and being a Sunday there seemed no better presentation than as a Farmhouse Sunday Dinner. I offered it in conjunction with the suckling Berkshire belly.
Bacon & Eggs. The belly was grilled and brushed with a light glaze of maple syrup and 8 Brix Verjus (liquid candy!!!) and served with a 2 hour egg. Pass the toast, please.