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Friday, April 27, 2012

Turpork (Romanian Porcurcan)

Today we have a guest post from our friend Vlad (who is also the godfather of our Mira). He's a very poetic guy and especially poetic when it comes to meat :). Enjoy the story he has to share with us:

Turducken is probably the western world’s greatest contribution to gastronomy. There are many variants, and there have been used as many as 16 species in a single roast, but the usual recipe involves stuffing a turkey with a duck stuffed with a chicken, matryoshka-style and roasting it in the oven. The paternity of this sick human contraption is disputed among the coasts of the Atlantic: Americans try to appropriate it as a traditional thanksgiving meal while Europeans point to their long history of animal abuse (as documented, for example by the Spanish Inquisition). However, its origins are probably lost in pre-history, since its ritualistic nature is hard to deny. Whether used diplomatically, by sharing a bi-totemic supper among the members of two tribes when one tribe „swallows” a smaller tribe, preventively, as a means to sublimate cannibal desires that reminded the primitive of the original sin of killing and devouring the primordial father, or ascetically, as a way to build a deleuzian body without organs that is full (thus acheiving true freedom), the turducken’s role in history cannot be denied.
You know it’s wrong, and yet you crave for it. It wakes one’s inner dr. Moreau to cram dead birds one inside another and try to bring them back to life (in your stomach, that is). And why settle on birds? You can take it to the next level by shoving the whole thing inside a pig, turning it into a pork-turducken, and it has been done (a bit overdone, if you ask me) by my gourmet role models, the guys from EpicMealTime. Since I don’t want to be labeled a copycat, I said to myself “why not turn this recipe on its head and stuff a pig inside a turkey, and add some beef while we’re at it?”.

Alas, beef and pork go well together only when blended inside a juicy sausage, so we need to learn to make Romanian sausages first.

For about 50 sausages we used the following ingredients:
  • 2kgs of pork leg
  • 2kgs of beef
  • 1kg of pork lard (“slana”)
  • About 20 cloves of garlic
  • A spice mix, preferably from freshly ground spices. I used pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cumin, coriander; you can also add herbs such as basil, thyme or marjoram; easy on the cumin or coriander, too much will kill the taste
  • The juice from half a can of pickled chili peppers
  • Some warm vegetable soup, for a smoother sausage (I actually remembered this after they were made)
  • 5-7 meters of salted pork intestines
  • One beer

First step is to drink the beer, because you’re about to spend two hours of your life tossing meat and getting wash-resistant fat all over your hands. After the beer is gone, take the salted pork guts from the pack and put them in a bowl filled with water, so the salt can come off. Put the meat inside a large dish. Then mince the garlic cloves into a paste and throw it in. Grind the spices together and shuffle them over the meat, along with the chili juice and mix it thoroughly with your hands. This process should last at least half an hour, if you want each sausage to have the same taste. You can use your bare hands or you can use surgical gloves. The second option is less messy, but you lose part of the flavor from lack of exposure to your germs. In the end, it should look like this:

Now is time to get the assembly line ready.  For extra authenticity, use a manual grinding machine without a knife or sieve, with the long hollow meat dispenser at the end. You can also drink another beer to calm down, because there’s more work to come. Two people are needed for the next job, so call a friend and divide your tasks. Person A takes the intestines out of the bowl, and blows inside them, to make it easier to put on the machine (another advantage of this process is imbuing your sausage with a new human-derived flavor). Slide the intestines onto the neck of the machine. It’s a bit like putting on nylon stockings (although I wouldn’t know anything about that). Crowd as much as the intestine as you can, so you can make many sausages without always changing the skin. Unfortunately, I was at my third beer by then and forgot to take pictures of the process. 

Person B stands behind the machine and feeds it by constantly throwing handfuls of meat inside and turning the lever clockwise, while person A holds the intestine and rolls it alternatively after each sausage, so they don’t roll back. When the end is reached, Person A can make a knot out of the rest of the intestine. Do this until your target number of sausages is met.
Don’t use all the mix! Make sure you leave enough stuffing for the turpork, about one pan-full of it.

The sausages should look like this. 

Eat one to see if it was worth it, then take the rest to your balcony and hang them on the ropes you usually hang your clothes on. Just make sure they can be seen by your neighbors. If one of them asks about this ostentatious display of natural wealth, deny everything. These sausages are for you and you alone. Leave them outside to dry for a few days (sausages, not neighbors). After you bring them inside, if you have the possibility to smoke them, go right ahead, if not keep some in the fridge and the rest in a freezer.

Hey, wasn’t this about the turken / porkey thing? Well, here it goes. 

  • a turkey leg without bones, approx. 1kg
  • a plate of sausage stuffing 
  • half a lemon
  • a glass of white wine
  • one tablespoon of butter
  • 10 green olives
  • parsley
  • a small onion
  • two tablespoons of mustard
  • a few dried prunes
  • two teaspoons of honey
  • 1,5 kg of potatoes
First of all, you need to transform the three-dimensional turkey leg into a two-dimensional carpet shape, so be careful when you cut it so you don’t make any holes inside the fabric. Next, pound the meat savagely with your fists (or with a schnitzel beater, if you’ve reached the end of the civilizing process) until it spreads out. Put some lemon juice on it (alternately, you can put some herbs, vinegar or olive oil and leave it for a few hours to tender) and put it in the fridge.

Now it’s time for the filling. Put the butter in a pan and let it melt, then add the finely chopped onion and let it fry until it becomes translucent. Then add the sausage meat, mixing it with the onion. In the meantime, chop the olives and the dried prunes, removing the kernels; also, chop the parsley. Fifteen minutes later, add some wine to the mix. After five more minutes, add the chopped olives and mix well, leaving it for another 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat and put it in a bowl. Mix in the mustard and the chopped parsley.

After it cools down, put the mix on top of the turkey host, in uniform fashion. Roll the turkey, making sure the ends meet. Use toothpicks to keep it together and make sure there are no holes left. Congratulations! You have successfully recreated the missing link between birds and mammals by building the Frankenstein of the animal kingdom, the perfect roast, in the form of TURPORK. Mr. Turpork for friends, Mrs. Turpork for feminists.

Use a string to tie it from one side to the other, then place it in an oven-friendly bowl previously slimed with olive oil. Add more condiments on the top, if you feel like it. Peel the potatoes and cut them into medium cubes, then place them around the phallic turken.

Spice up the potatoes if you want (salt, pepper and coriander work for me), then add a cup of water and a cup of wine. Cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the pre-heated oven. 

Leave it for an hour or so, then check to see if there is any liquid left. If not, add wine or water (or vegetable stock). Smear the turken with the sauce and let it roast for another half an hour. Then remove the foil and let it crisp, periodically greasing the meat with sauce. Always check to see it’s not burned. 

After an hour or so, take out the roast and coat it with a few teaspoons of honey. Leave it in the oven for 5-10 minutes, and it’s done! It should look better than the following picture, but I lost patience and removed it earlier.

Serve it with pickles and a glass of spritzer. Congratulate the pig, the cow and the turkey because they didn’t die in vain, instead ending up in such a sophisticated stomach and think about your ancestors while devouring their totemic supper.

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