Well, the day came when Ethel was converted into joints of pork. She’d had a lovely life at Samphire at Sycamore Farm, so we don’t feel bad about eating the end product.
A couple of days before she arrived on our doorstep, we had a message from Karen Nethercott, who runs Samphire, to tell us that “Ethel was quite a big girl”. That sent us into a minor panic, since although we thought we’d cleared plenty of freezer space, we hadn’t bargained for a larger than average pig.
We made some backup arrangements, but we shouldn’t have worried. The pork arrived immaculately butchered, boned, packed, and labelled.
And it fitted into our freezer beautifully.
We’d been envisaging something like our occasional forays to Smithfield, where we’ve been faced with a whole loin or leg, and had to butcher it ourselves. This was sheer luxury by comparison.
A couple of days later, our son joined us for a session of sausage making. We were glad of the help, since the sausage stuffer needs a strong arm. But first, the meat needed to be trimmed. To be honest, there was very little waste even on the 5kg pack of offcuts and meat from the head.
The skin and ribs needed to come out of the belly slices:
I made a start by mincing a piece of shoulder to give a sensible lean to fat ratio.
We’re delighted with the mincer. We used to use a mincer attachment on a Kenwood mixer, but it was a slow old process, with frequent stops to unclog and clean the plates. We now have an Italian Trespade no 12 mincer, which motors through 8kgs of pork with great ease.
We had enough meat to make almost exactly 10kgs of sausage. We did two 5kg batches. We used commercial mixes and rusk, rather than mix our own spices and bake our own rusk, because we didn’t want to take any chances with our precious rare breed pork. We used a relatively plain farmhouse sausage mix from Weschenfelder and a spicier Cumberland sausage mix from Tongmaster.
Here’s the sausage stuffer. I’m just loading hog casings onto it, ready for the first batch.
We work on a folding table that we keep for food use, and which can easily be sterilised. Here Jean is making the sausages into links:
And the verdict on the sausages? Need you ask? Absolutely delicious!