Blood and Guts part II

Blood and Guts II.

Actually sounds like a name for a corny movie sequel! It is in fact the second part of the post regarding:

  1. Duck Blood Larb (see previous entry)
  2. Beef Innards (Tripe and Offal)

We needed super fresh innards and I had managed to find a cow that would be slaughtered at noon. “Fresh as possible”.

Some viewers may find some of the photographs graphic, hence the photos appear after the “read the rest of this entry” link.

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Guts.

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Tripe comes from the stomach of the animal and Offal means the edible entrails and organs (think: heart, liver, brain, tongue etc…). In the USA the latter is often called Organ or Variety Meats. We just call them, Yummy!

Countless cultures feature these types of foods on their menus, with many dishes being considered as delicacies. Even those whom frown upon or are disgusted by the thought of  eating these meats naively consume burgers and sausages.

In a sadistic way, I wanted to “meet” my bovine friend, who was unwittingly going to give me her blood and guts.

Sad, I know.

However as a cook, I think you should be able to look at your meat in its live state and respect what mother nature has provided you with.  The highest respect you can show mother nature is to eat everything from the animal, and let´s face it, if you´re going to eat it, it has to be killed.

My contact told me that somebody had purchased the cow for its meat, and if I wanted, I could come and collect the tripe and offal, the items that the buyer didn’t want at the slaughtering. Its strange to think that so many Spanish dishes feature the tripe and offal from pigs, but hardly use those from the cow. Better for me…

A short drive through the countryside led me to the “Finca” where a herd of cattle grazed and enjoyed their lazy day.

My friend Daisy (I know…, its a cheesy name…) was led in to an iron passageway. There was a “clang” as the gate closed behind her. There wasn’t much room for her to move in the passageway, Daisy could only go forward. One of the workers gingerly climbed up the steps overlooking the “Death Row” and nonchalantly placed a rope around her horns. Was he going to hang her? Er, nope.

Another worker climbed up the opposite side holding what looked like a green coloured pressure washer lance, like those two-handed jet-powered guns you see people use to spray water on their cars with. But he wasn’t going to give her a wash. In fact he delivered 300 volts to the back of her head. Quick and fast.

Its wasn’t the electric shock that would send Daisy to the big ranch in the sky, the shock just rendered her unconscious.

What killed her was the slitting of her throat.

Watching this didn’t seem too bad as I though it might. I mean, Daisy lived a carefree life, was allowed to roam on hectares of  land, feeding on copious bails of hay. She wasn’t traumatised by being squashed in to an overloaded lorry and driven for miles in sweating and cramped conditions. Quick and fast.

I finally realised why she had the rope around her horns. The other end was tied to the back of a pickup truck which unceremoniously dragged her the short distance to where she would be sectioned. Its easier to drag a dead cow away by truck.

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After she had bled out, her head was removed.

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After her decapitation, her feet were removed.

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It was a little unsettling to see the headless and footless carcass twitching, almost kicking out at us, like making a final defiant gesture to her killers. F$%& Off!

She was then hoisted by the tendons of her hind legs.

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We had to do this manually, and it took quite an effort to get the carcass finally upright so that they could start the skinning process.

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It was amazing to see how these guys removed the skin with deft strokes between the hide and meat. They told me that the  skin was going to be thrown away. It seemed a pity really. Why didn’t someone make a nice rug or cover a footstool with it?

“Hello!, welcome, come on in, put your feet up on Daisy”…

As one of the guys continued with the skinning, the other one carefully extracted the tongue from the head.

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Not only was the tongue removed, so were the cheeks. These lovely pieces had already been “purchased”. I was asked if I wanted the head for the brain. I was tempted, I thought it over. I decided against it, until next time.

After the remaining skin had been removed it was time to “get to in insides”.

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With Daisy hanging upside down, her insides flopped out quite easily.

Cows look fat as you see them standing around. In fact, what you are noticing are their stomachs. All four parts.

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The contents of the blue box is mine. “Fresh as possible”.

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With all the insides out of the way, the workers begin to extract other pieces of offal from the cavity.

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Liver. Very nice. Sadly though, it was one of the pieces that had already been purchased. What I did get though, was the gallbladder. Bile. Yummy!

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Other pieces such as the heart and lungs were removed. Luckily the owner of the meat didn’t want these pieces. Hmmmm. Better for us. :biggrin:

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With the help of an axe and a very sharp knife, they began to take off the choice pieces of meat. A gutted cow doesn’t look like it has a lot of meat left on it after the stomach is removed. But you´d be surprised.

With the buyers pieces nicely packed away, and the chopping table now free, it was time to work on the innards.

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It was heavy and huge. There are loads of goodies in there. Thank you Daisy. I love you.

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Intestines. They look so plump. They will need a good clean when we get back. Inside and out.

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The choicest parts are removed for “lunch”.

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Looks big doesn’t it?

Obviously Daisy was not on a diet before she was dispatched. She probably woke up that morning and ate breakfast, just as if it was a regular day. Its expected that her stomach will be full.

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If that dog gets any closer, he´ll be in for a huge surprise!

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Glorious tripe. “Fresh as possible”.

After a quick spray down, everything is bagged up and taken back to the house.

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The heart is marinated for a while with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, mushroom soy sauce and a splash of brandy.

Meanwhile the intestines and stomachs are washed. To wash the intestines, the opening is attached to a hose pipe, water is turned on, the intestines are gripped between the thumb and first finger and are lightly pulled. Many times. Imagine trying to take out the meat from a very long sausage which has a tough casing. You get the image.

The stomachs are treated like a dirty towels being washed vigorously by hand. Then washed again. And again.

There are products that you can use which will “bleach” the tripe, but we didn’t have any, so we used “elbow grease”  instead.

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When the heart was cooked it was sliced up and served as a appetizer.

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The heart had a nice “beefy” taste. Lean. Lovely.

A lot of people trim too much off a piece of heart before cooking it. I find that it taste better if there is some remaining fat around. Dare I say is, yes…. it´s “offaly” nice… 😆

The next part of the meal is one of my favourites. The intestines.

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There are various ways to prepare these. One way is to boil them in a broth until soft. If like me, you like a crispy piece, you can then grill them after boiling them.

It was decided that we would slow roast them first, eat some, then finish the rest off in a hot pan to crisp up. Two very different textures, both equally nice.

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First the slow roasted ones. These have a nice chewy texture, but not too chewy. Chewy enough to savour the flavours, but not overly so that it resembles cow gut flavoured gum. :blink:

These have to be eaten quite quickly, whilst they are still hot, otherwise the inside of your cheeks and top of your tongue will feel like you´ve been drinking warm lard which has since cooled in your mouth. Ewwww.

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The crispy ones are outstanding. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Slow cooking in the oven helps retain the nice chewiness that boiling would take away. Sauteed in a hot pan for a minute or two crisps up the fatty layer on the outside of the intestines, and in my book, fat is good. :biggrin:

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Thank you Daisy!

Though I didn’t get the liver, I did at least get the gallbladder and hence the bile.

Bile is that greenish liquid that tastes bitter, bitter in a nice way.

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The bile is boiled before being added to a fish sauce, garlic and chillie “jéow”.

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Bitterness (or in Lao, “Khom”) is an acquired taste, but once you get it, you are hooked. After all, it is one of the elements of taste.

Whilst we are all happily chewing away on hearts and intestines, other goodies are being prepared.

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A few Thai Basil leaves are added to our soup which contains various morsels of tripe and offal.

There is no need to over cook the soup, you still want the tripe and offal to retain some texture and flavour.

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You can see that the honeycomb and towel-like sections of the stomach have been cleaned to the best of our ability and are no longer dark green. Pieces of lung have a nice “sponge-like” texture.

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The broth had a wonderful aroma and the pieces were enjoyed with gusto, especially after being dipped in to the bitter sauce. Or just do as I do, add a small teaspoon of the bile sauce to the soup bowl, eat, slurp and enjoy.

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:biggrin:

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This post is dedicated to Daisy…

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7 thoughts on “Blood and Guts part II

  1. Hey Vienne,
     
    This is a great entry. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people out there that may gag because they are not used to eating the other parts of a cow. As a Laotion, too, I am used to eating the above ways of preparation and I especially love larp with tripe. The beef flavor is really intense. I am curious as to what other chefs around the world are thinking about using bile in a sauce. I personally love it and I am embarrassed at times that I grew up using bile as a base of a condiment. Do you know of any other culture that uses bile in their cuisine?
     
    I also admire that you are promoting the use of the entire animal, connecting with it, respecting and thanking it by using all of Daisy’s parts. Congratulations on getting married, Vienne! I am looking forward to seeing you in the future!

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  3. Hola Leon, its always a pleasure to hear from you.
    I dont really know if other cultures use the Bile, though I am sure that they do.
    The greatest respect you can show to Mother Nautre is to consume in its entirety what she has provided. A lot of people turn a blind eye to what is in the burgers or sausages, though I think they know full well that manufacturers and companies use the maximum meat and other product available in their goods, like I said, people turn a blind eye.
    I once saw someone wearing a T-shirt which exclaimed “I am Lao, I eat anything”. Maybe thats true…..
     
     

  4. This is one of the most disturbing posts I think I’ve ever come across. An animal loving friend of mine had this on her FB wall, and now I almost regret looking at it. It’s reminiscent of a horror film… which begs the question – why? Why is this necessary to create food for any pleasurable reason? Why did someone have to be killed in such a graphic manner for this kind of “purpose?” How tremendously sad and disappointing to learn that selfish acts know no bounds… I hope you will one day consider your actions and the life of the animal you bludgeoned before using a being like this so carelessly again.

  5. @ Lindsay:

    On the contrary, I think the chef was quite respectful of the “whole animal” concept and, by posting this, showing that some cultures use pretty much everything, not just the pretty cuts of pristine meat. If he hadn’t gone to get the fresh offal, it would have just been thrown away.

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