Volume II, No. 2, Winter 1974
Butchering a hog brings on thoughts of noon dinner to all that help at this job. With all that fresh meat ready for eating or storing in the smokehouse, the women know they have their work cut out for them, and back in the kitchen they will go.
LIVER AND ONIONS
Sometimes the men had to hurry with the butchering so that some fresh meat could be cooked for noon dinner. The two cuts of meat usually ready first were the the liver and ribs.
The liver is taken to the house, sliced in thin slices, one-half inch or less, salted lightly and rolled in flour. The liver will take quite a lot of flour because it is still moist. Brown the slices in a skillet of hot fat.
Slice enough onions to finish filling up the skillet. It will take six or eight onions to completely cover the liver. Add a little water, cover and cook slowly about one hour or until the onions are tender. Add more water if needed. The liquid in the skillet will be thickened about right from the flour the slices were dipped in. Serve together in one dish.
1 lb. tenderloin
3/4 cup sour cream
3 Tbs. bacon drippings
salt and pepper
Cut tenderloin crosswise into 2-inch slices. Flatten them out and dredge with flour. Place in hot skillet containing drippings and brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat. Add cream. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serves six.
Variation---If you're in a hurry you may just want to salt and pepper, then fry.
PIGS' KNUCKLES AND SAUERKRAUT
4 pigs' knuckles
3 tsp. salt
2 qts. boiling water
1 qt. sauerkraut
Place whole knuckles in boiling water. Cover and simmer until meat is tender--about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. About 20 minutes before serving, pour off most of the water. Add sauerkraut. Heat thoroughly. Serve the meat on a bed of sauerkraut. Serves four.
HEAD CHEESE OR SOUSE
1 pig's head
1 large onion, quartered
4 whole cloves
6 celery tops
4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. salt
Remove snout and save tongue and brains. Scrub head well and place it and the tongue in a large kettle. Cover with water, add onion stuck with cloves. Tie celery, parsley, carrot, bay leaf and peppercorns in cheesecloth and drop into kettle. Add salt.
Bring to boil and simmer slowly about 4 hours or until meat is tender and falls easily from the bones. Skim carefully while cooking. Remove tongue from water after it has cooked 1 1/2 hours.
Lift head onto a large platter. Strain and save the liquid in kettle. Remove all rind from head; cut up the meat into small pieces. Skin the tongue and remove excess tissue from root end. Cut up the tongue with the other meat. You may like to put meat through food chopper. Press meat in large bowl.
Drop the brains into a little of the cooking liquid. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove. Drain and add to meat and tongue. Season all lightly with cayenne, sage and nutmeg. Toss to mix well.
Pack mixture into 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan or mold, pressing firmly. Pour 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, cooked until lukewarm, evenly over mixture. Put a cover to fit just inside the pan or mold and put weight on it to press the meat. Chill at least 48 hours before using. Slice to serve. Makes eighteen half inch slices or eight servings.
PICKLED PIGS' FEET
4 good-sized boiled pigs' feet
1 qt. strong vinegar
1 Tbs. whole cloves
1/4 cup salt
1/2 onion, cut into eighths
4 bay leaves
1 Tbs. broken cinnamon
2 tsp. pepper
1 blade mace
Clean feet carefully. Cover with hot water. Simmer until meat will separate from bones. Remove feet carefully with skimmer, saving the water for later use. Place feet in stone jar after taking out the largest bones. Heat vinegar with bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, salt, pepper, onion and mace. Simmer slowly for 45 minutes, but do not boil at any time. Let it cool. Remove the cake of fat from the top of the cooled water the feet were cooked in. Add about 1 quart of this water to the vinegar mixture. If the vinegar is not very strong, use less water. Strain liquid through a sieve and pour over meat in jar. Chill 2 days. Serves 4 to 6.
BOILED PIGS' FEET
6 pigs' feet
1 1/2 Tbs. salt
Scrape feet and wash thoroughly.
Tie each separately in a piece of cheesecloth. Cover with boiling water and add salt. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer six hours. Let cool in the water. When cold, drain, but do not remove cloth. Chill. Use for broiling or frying. Serves six.
BROILED--Split feet. Dredge with salt, pepper and flour. Broil 10 minutes. Season with butter, salt and pepper.
FRIED--Split feet and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Dip into beaten egg. Then into bread crumbs. Fry in hot deep fat for 5 minutes at 375° F.
Elvie and Myrtle Hough remembered how they used to smoke sausage in corn shucks. They said to mold the seasoned sausage patty in the shape of an ear of corn. Select clean, whole corn shucks, making sure to get it nice and smooth inside. Slip the sausage down into the shuck where the ear of corn was. Pull all the shucks up carefully around the meat. Tie it closed well with a string. Hang the shuck in the smokehouse with the joints and sides to smoke. After smoking it will keep all winter long and into the spring.
Essie Hamilton gave us the next few recipes. She couldn't believe that I did not know anything about cooking a hog. Essie told these to me, just as she cooks them. All of her cooking is done by what she thinks taste good, not by written recipes.
Boil backbone in salted water. Take out of boiling water and bake a little while. Or take straight out of boiling water and serve. But it's better baked!
If it's a young hog the heart will be tender. Slice and roll in flour, then fry. If the heart is not from a young hog, it would be too tough to fry, so the best way to prepare it would be boiled. There are several ways you can use the heart after you boil it. Chop it fine or grind it to make mincemeat.
Or add bread crumbs to the cut up heart to make the best of dressing or stuffing. You might try stuffing the whole heart with bread dressing or sauerkraut and then bake.
Soak in salt water for a few minutes. Flour and fry. Or eat them straight out of the kettle when rendering lard.
ESSIE'S BISCUITS AND RED GRAVY
Most people just roll the biscuit dough out on a dough board, but Essie shapes hers in her flour pan, a round pan about 18 inches across and 8 inches deep, which she keeps half full of flour.
She said, "Take a pan of flour and make a place in the center, just make it hollow. Sift some flour into the hole. I know just how much soda or baking powders and salt to mix in with the flour. [She put about 2 tsp. baking powder or 1 of soda if she uses sour milk, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Essie know from experience just how much to dip out of the containers with her fingers.] Add some milk and then 3 or 4 tablespoons of lard. Mix these all together with your lard, pulling in more flour if needed. I just squeeze each biscuit out, really old-fashioned. Dip each biscuit in a pan of grease. Then put on bread pan and bake.
"To make the red gravy fry some ham. When browned, remove from the skillet. While the grease is still hot, pour a little water in it. The water goes down and the grease stays on top. Dip in and get some of the reddish water on the bottom and grease that is on the top. You might try molasses and red gravy mixed together too. Pour gravy over whole or opened biscuits."
This recipe came from Esther Humphreys. She doesn't measure everything. She has a big white cup she uses to dip out the right amount of milk and just adds the rest of the ingredients until it tastes right.
Beat 2 eggs and add 1 cup sweet milk. Add enough corn meal to make it thick, about like a thick gravy. Add salt, "a pretty good pinch," and about 2 tsp. of baking powders. Mix these and add a cup of cracklings*. Mix in the cracklings and bake at 350° F. This would make a family sized pan of corn-bread.
Esther's mother used sour milk and 1 tsp. of soda instead of the sweet milk and baking powder.
*Cracklings can be mashed up into smaller pieces, ground or left whole depending on taste.
An unusual collection of "receipts" called SUGGINS COOKBOOK, by Josephine Hutson Grahm of Little Rock, Arkansas, has been brought to our attention by Vance Randolph. Mrs. Grahm has recently published recipes of the Suggins, poor folk of Scotch-Irish descent who settled in Northeast Arkansas. These are recipes showing ingenuity in doing without. The following "receipt" from this book is an example of what it contains. The cookbook can be obtained by sending $5.98 to Suggin Productions, 7710 Choctaw Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205.
MT. MORIAH CHURCH SUPPER CHITTLINS*
5 lb. pork chittlins
6 cups lard for frying
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbs. bacon drippings
1 tsp. each salt and sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. hot pepper
Wash, pick over chittlins, soak overnight. Cook 3-5 hours till tender in salty water. Cool, dry, cut in easy-to-eat portions.
Make batter by mixing above ingredients except lard and chittlins. Dip chittlins in batter to fry in hot deep fat till golden.
Serve chittlins with hot pepper sauce, worcestershire, horseredish, catsup, Tabasco.
*Chittlins are small intestines.
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.