Meat can be a fascinating object. Butchery is a trade that demands a clearly defined technique to move forward with as little waste as possible. Tonight was my second butchery class taken at The Healthy Butcher and the topic: Beef Hip and Loin.
While bones and flesh might appear to be the same in most animals we eat [I blame styrofoam trays for that], the reality is that each animal demands unique understandings of its anatomy features and what cuts a client will buy. The season of year is key to how the cuts are rendered, as few people will be roasting a prime rib with vegetables in the heat of July. Obviously from the preceding photo, a hip of beef requires not only the boning knife, but also a saw and a scimitar [and preferably a hook and chain suspended securely from the ceiling].
This class was an excellent review of what I saw last week with Mr. Meli, but with a different beast on the block; two different butchers also fabricated the meat in tandem. I have to admit that neither taught or spoke as well as David did previously, but I appreciated what they did offer up at lightning speed [we finished an hour earlier than advertised – which was fine because we went an hour later last time]. Frankly, I just enjoyed what was offered up in terms of answers, food and visuals. I quite enjoyed the Saskatoon Berry Terrine of Elk, the $3 pops and the breads offered up. Only two of us from last week’s class seemed to have the stomach to eat – strange. The staff at the Queen Street store were edgy and hip, but balanced out with staff that keep control of the ship. I like that a lot.
As the class ended, I committed organic paganism and walked into the Loblaw’s across the street, past the “grain-fed chicken without antibiotics,” and straight towards a $4 bird to practice deboning. One of the butcher’s had mentioned their chicken class [totally sold out], and how amazing it feels to complete your first deboned chicken. Learning without the mechanical practice to cement the motions into your repetoire is fruitless. A $4 bird would let me practice the techniques I saw in class, feed my dogs chicken for less than cans of dog food, and experience the thrill of accomplishing a new technique.
Sadly, on my way home I found myself with some problematic intestinal difficulties from the dandelion root/fruit juice combo – let’s just say I detoxed hard as I barely made it back through my front door. I would describe the ordeal, but such things are seldom good reading unless in a Marquis de Sade novel. Sooo…what would you do after all that, with a weak body at midnight? Exactly: debone the chicken and roast it.
The process of full deboning a chicken is something that I never really considered as I am not a fan of the Turducken idea. Still, I wanted to practice and this seemed like the best option to take my mind off of my body. With two viewings of Jaques Pepin from Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” series I was off to the races. No mistakes, no issues and the new Wusthof boning knife works perfectly at getting between joints. Within about 20 minutes I was done and feeling proud of my accomplishments.
While I had intended on just serving it to the dogs, I decided to take one side and after roasting it to an ideal crispiness I let it rest and then sliced it. In the past I made a simple gravy from the drippings, Umami Paste Taste No.5 and Tio Pepe sherry. The flavours were rich, deep and the whole dish was a feat to be proud of at 2am in the morning. The dogs rather enjoyed their portion, though no Umami for them.