Snout to tail

Have you ever wondered what bone both and brawn actually are?

What are they? How are they made? And, are they any good? Bone broth seems to regularly figure in tweets and blogs from North America. But, you don’t see beef bones neatly packaged up in supermarkets and I have not asked a butcher for them either. And brawn seems a thing of the past. It was with interest therefore that a tweet and a blog on these subjects popped up in my in-box yesterday.

Saifedean Ammous posted a thread of tweets (here) and a helpful series of replies too. All he does is clean the bones by boiling for a few moments in water with a dash on vinegar. The liquid is thrown away. The bones are returned to the pot, covered with water and brought to the boil. You can add vegetables and spices at this stage if you wish. The bones need boiling for perhaps 3-4 hours. You could use a pressure cooker, or you could do it in a slow cooker for 24 hours. However it’s cooked, the liquid broth needs to be poured off and ideally left to stand in a fridge. Fat will rise to the top. It can be skimmed off and used in cooking. The jelly-like liquid left behind can be heated up (it will go liquid then) and consumed like a thin soup. When I do eventually prepare it I think I will use it as a stock for various soups like onion or mushroom perhaps. It does sound like a great way of making a very nutritious culinary commodity for just a few pennies.

Now brawn, this is something else. This was another thing I was unsure about. But thankfully Jim at Offaly Good has come to the rescue. He posts excellent blogs regularly on all matter offal. The brawn post was particularly interesting although not one for the faint-hearted; it is well illustrated with lots of photos (Warning: it features trotters and a pig’s head). I am not sure I will be making pig’s head brawn any time soon, I may live in the country but at heart, I am a bit of a townie. That said, the trotter recipe looks eminently do-able.