La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Monday, September 07, 2015

From Free Range Pig to Pork - Part 2

Following up from part 1  I have to say, things didn't go so well for our second lot to get them to slaughter.
Like before, our local butcher collected 2 pigs for slaughter. I believe it was in June and always on a Tuesday. Teary-eyed, I sad my goodbyes.  It doesn't seem to get any easier.
By the time Tuesday night came along I knew they would have been killed and my emotions had settled down somewhat.
On Wednesday morning the butcher phoned us to let us know he was bringing back our pigs - alive!
And so he did.
What had happened was that he slaughters more than just our pigs. When he set about doing his job with another lot from other people, these pigs became extremely aggressive.  So he bottled out with ours and consequently brought them back.
I can understand him, though.  He is fairly new to pig slaughter. They are big animals and can get very aggressive when stressed. If that previous lot from 'other people' hadn't had much human contact, they would have been very weary and scared.
He said that before he would venture into pigs again he needed to redo his infrastructure and that wouldn't be for the foreseeable future. He recommended an abattoire  in the nearby town of Kenmare, which is only half an hour's drive.
We gave the pigs a few extra weeks to de-stress and  made arrangements with the Kenmare butcher.
In this case we had to bring the pigs ourselves. Oh dear !
We managed to get two into our van.  You know as well as I do that these were the other two than the ones before.
All went well and a week later we could pick up the meat.  One went to a French charcutier who was going to make salami, sausages, black pudding, paté, smoked bacon, etc for us.
Olivier has a market stall in Kenmare but lives on the Dingle peninsula.  His wares are so tasty and his ingredients locally sourced.  It would take a few weeks before we got all these goodies back from him.
And here are a few.
We vacuum packed all the goodies and put them in the freezer. Plain sausages, continental style. 

Black pudding, again continental (Europe) style. 

Salami, vacuum  packed and frozen.

Chorizo salami and plain.

Smoked streaky bacon. 

Coarse paté

From the other pig we sold half again to friends. But we were going to do the cuts ourselves on our kitchen island.  I asked the butcher to halve the pig and disjoint the shoulders and legs.  With the kitchen ready we set to work, thanks to youtube and some guidelines from a local chef, we did it.

Shoulder joint for roasting 

Now, these are pork chops !

We've had a lot of family and friends over on holidays this summer and our meat stock seems to dwindle considerably. 

But there is nothing more satisfying than seeing guests enjoying a good meal with homegrown meat from happy pigs.

It is high time though that we start thinking about the two that have escaped their fate up till now. They are getting very large and big. Maybe next month. Maybe.

Thank you for joining me here again and I hope you'll come back for the next post. And the next....
Please feel free to leave comments.

Patricia xxx...x

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