Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Celine. Day Two. Rosie Makes The Pig Roulade.

I must say that the French Laundry instructions for Braised Stuffed Pig Head with Sauce Gribiche were sketchy at best. Two paragraphs of instructions about the preparation and cutting of the head, a one-sentence paragraph telling me to braise the tongue and referring me to another page for braised veal tongue, one short paragraph about rolling the roulade in cheesecloth, another one-sentence paragraph telling me to suspend the cheesecloth-wrapped roulade overnight in the fridge, one paragraph for the assembly, and the recipe for Sauce Gribiche.
And, no pictures. What kind of whack job would even attempt something like this? Oh yeah. Me.
This is Day 2 of my little project and I'm all set to get my pig meat out, wrap it up, roll it up, and braise it. First the aromatics for my braising liquid: celery, carrots, leek, parsley, thyme. I coarse chopped the veggies and left the parsley and thyme whole.
First, I must deal with the ears.
I didn't get all the hairs off by shaving, so I did a quick sear.
The French Laundry said to just dice the pig ear. It didn't say to do what I'm doing here, which is scraping the skin off the cartilage. I didn't see how it would be edible with the cartilage on so I made the executive decision to remove it.
Then I diced the pig ear.
I got out my different cuts of head meat. Those are the butterflied cheeks on top of a "porkier" looking slice of meat.
Some diced pig ear.
To quote from The French Laundry: "Arrange batons of cooked tongue, sweetbreads, and diced pig's ear."
Crap. I put the tongue on whole. And this is also ambiguous. Is the "cooked" a general "cook" and modifies the sweetbreads and the ear? I like to think it only refers to the tongue. One would hope the writer of the recipe meant that since nowhere did it say to cook other parts. I'm sure sweetbreads were in there, but I think I could only identify one and that was iffy. Now. Isn't everybody thinking about another head part? Go ahead. You can say it. B.R.A.I.N. Let me go on record as saying I never saw any brain. I never even thought about brain until Good Neighbor Bobby called last night and asked about pork brains. Well, the pork brains were still inside the skull when I boiled the head and skin for my stock, which, by the way, was a heady, porkish/bacony/layered, deep broth. I can't wait to make a nice bean soup on a cold winter night. Fireplace going. Snow gusting and drifting. And that was a fantasy. That doesn't happen here. But it did one night, make that 2-3 days of snow, about 20 years ago. It was Christmas Eve and I was delivering my cookies and it started snowing. And then it started snowing a whole lot. And it was sticking. I got home and the snow was being blown horizontally. It didn't come down. It came across. I couldn't see the houses across the canal from me. It was glorious. On Christmas Eve, Mr. Hawthorne went out to buy batteries for all the Santa gifts. He got turned back three miles up the road where the airstrip is. The drifts were huge and impenetrable. He was turned back by police and we were batteryless on Christmas day. I had my very first White Christmas. Daughter Hawthorne was 4 and Middle Hawthorne was 2. And they couldn't even play in the snow. On the day after Christmas, I took both to the doctor. Pneumonia.
Here's the roulade tied up in cheese cloth ready for the aromatics.
Chicken stock went in to cover.
I also added the aromatics from the braising liquid of the tongue.
A little white wine never hurts.
More chicken stock.
And we're ready for 6 hours in a 300 degree oven.
While the roulade was braising, I pulled the pork stock out of the fridge and scraped the top layer of fat off. I reheated the stock, skimming the impurities off the top.
Then I poured the stock through multiple layers of cheesecloth.
I ended up with a quart of stock.
I had a few sips and it was very, very good. Rich, complex, porky, slightly bacony, layered flavors.
Nothing went to waste.
These are the ear cartilages which I baked along with the roulade for several hours.
The doggies are going to love these.
Back to the roulade.
Here it is after 6 hours of braising.
I'm letting it drain for a while before I unwrap it and rewrap it back up in more cheesecloth.
I refrigerated the braising liquid and will deal with that tomorrow. More stock.
Everything is done for now. I'll leave it hanging for at least 24 hours, then the plan is to slice the roulade into medallions and saute them. Now that part really has me worried since I don't know whether everything is just going to fall apart when I try to slice it or if it will actually slice cleanly. We shall see.


Rose II said...

Love the shots of your eager little helper, Beau. The cocoon hanging in your refrigerator looks like something out of "Silence of the Lambs." :P

Kathy said...