Today we witnessed the slaughter of one of the cows. It was a paddock kill. I’m not going to go into details about it but I will say that I found it much less spectacular than I imagined. I didn’t see the shooting but I saw the skinning and gutting and I had my arms elbow deep in smelly cow guts. Sometimes things happen and we surprise ourselves with our own strength and strong-stomachness. Today was such a day for me.
So, yeah, there’s a cow in a portable cooler on our driveway. It is illegal for the meat to leave our property, so it will hang there for two weeks, and then the butcher will return to cut lovely bits of beef that will last us a good part of a year.
I feel fairly matter-of-fact about the cow. I like eating beef and I know this meat will be delicious. The children seem fine with it all. Georgia didn’t want to see the dead cow but Matthew was interested. After trying to protect the children from the event, I went outside to see the butcher’s children (who happen to be friends of Georgia and Matthew – so small is our town) running about the paddock, watching the whole process. After that I decided to let the kids choose what they wanted to do. They were neither disgusted nor intrigued, and they ended up playing with their friends instead.
Anyway, with an animal, comes offal, and I am sorry (?) to say that today was all about cooking offal.
We made a great deal of liver pâté.
Liver was diced and sautéed with onions. Red wine, garlic and rosemary were added. The whole aromatic thing cooked and reduced down over hours, before being blended with salt, pepper and butter, and put into dishes and pressed with roughly ground pepper.
We used the recipe from here.
We also made steak and kidney sponge from Sally Wise’s book and it was fantastic. We made enough to feed 10 people (two nights of dinners). The kids especially enjoyed the sponge cake atop their beef. As well as using one of the cow’s kidneys and a kilo of supermarket beef, we used the beef’s cheeks, which are a delicacy – or so I’ve heard. Delicious, at any rate.
So there you have it. It’s all part of the dream.