Thursday, 18 November 2010

Processing a Carcass

Rimmel did indeed get slaughtered and I surprise myself in that it wasn't as traumatic as I'd thought for me. I wasn't involved in the actual killing though Ben said that it was quick (well I know it was because within 15 mins of them going out to the field to lure her down with a lovely breakfast, Ben was running back for the tractor to carry the carcass back for hanging). For his account of that bit see the previous post. It sounds more gruesome to write it all down actually but to be here was different.

When it came to the butchery and processing it was over to me (and Claude our butcher of course). Ben oddly went all squeemish and wouldn't touch anything. Fortunately it was not the bloody process that I thought it would be as the blood had been drained on Monday within seconds of her being shot with a captive bolt stun gun - interestingly the French word for this piece of equipment is un matador. Immediately Claude had made this blood into boudin noir, the French black pudding, by adding some neck meat, onions, salt and pepper. I have to confess that I did not try the boudin noir (though Ben did) but it was a gift very warmly received by all our neighbours who had helped us since our arrival.

At 7am it was time to unwrap the carcass from its shroud and begin butchering. I took a deep breath. Claude began cutting, and my friend Sheena and I weighing, labelling and bagging the meat for the freezer. Claude made some sausages but left some mixture for me to make into the sausages of my choice. He minced the meat for the pate. He boned out hams and cut meat for bacon preparation.

Now we have hams and bacon in a brining solution I'd made last night ready for smoking in the coming weeks, sausages, meat set aside for making rillettes, pate ready for cooking, roasts on the bone and off the bone, tenderloins, chops, spare ribs ready for the BBQ next Spring etc etc. I'm even going to make Fromage de Tete or Brawn as it's known in the UK.

It was a long, cold and arduous morning but we finished by 1.30pm. I say 'finished' but actually there's still a lot of cooking to be done.

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