Is that too much sharing?
If you are an infrequent reader of my blog(shame on you), then you'll need to be clued into the fact that Beau Ramsburg is the rock star farmer behind Rettland Farms, in addition to being the creative mind behind the blog Farmgate Philosopher. Rettland provides The Sheppard Mansion with pork, chicken and eggs(oh, and alfalfa hay for when I decide that it would be a great idea to bake ham hocks in hay. Holy crap was that dish good...too bad people were wigged out about hay.) So, when I say that Beau provides us with pork and chicken, I don't mean boneless, skinless chicken breast or pork tenderloin. He brings us the whole dealio. That fact affords me the amazing opportunity to work with chicken feet, necks, pork jowls, tongue, tail....you get the point. The good stuff or if you're a rube, the stuff you turn your nose up at without even ever trying it.(INSTANT QUESTION: Would I serve it if it tasted like shit?) It's OK, that means there is more for those who are looking for massive flavor. So, that brings us to this dish.
A torchon of Beau's Berkshire Pork with pickled baby vegetables, herbs and flowers from the garden and a mustard cream.
The method we used was to confit all the pork offal(head, tongue, tail, etc.) in lard. Once cooked, the meat was pulled from the bone, seasoned, formed into cylinders, wrapped in plastic wrap and hung in our walk-in to chill.
The reason I love Beau Ramsburg is because of this torchon. It is, pure and simple, a piece of pork flavor dynamite in the mouth. You can't get this type of flavor from an animal that wasn't well treated. It's just impossible. Furthermore, I feel that the tastiest parts of the pig are included in this dish. Not to take away from the flavor of the rest of Beau's animal, but this is simply the good stuff. I talk way too much about terroir and how I want my food to taste like where it comes from. This dish accomplishes what I sent out to do every morning when I put on my coat and apron: express Central PA on the plate and in the mouth.
To those of you who had this dish, a sincere thank you and I hope you enjoyed it.(I speak in the past tense because this dish has been put to bed for a little bit) To those of you that didn't take the plunge, I feel sorry for you. You missed out on a remarkable food experience. Perhaps another time.
Once again, the photos are courtesy of Andrew Smith. Please check out this photo blog, VisualRealia