I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Stuffed Chine

I've said it before, but I have to restrain myself from writing about food and drink on this blog — a subject close to my heart. My feeling is this: most of us eat two or three times a day, so we may as well enjoy it. Luckily I don't need much persuasion. I'm not talking about greed and self-indulgence here; I'm talking about health, pleasure and love. What could be nicer than preparing a beautiful meal for someone? (Particularly if that person is appreciative, though I know it's not always the case!)

I live on the border of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, and am fortunate in that Lincolnshire is one of England's great food-producing regions. It's also one of England's largest counties, one of the least populated and one with the biggest acreage of farmland. (I won't get into the complex and controversial debates about factory farming, prairie-style agriculture, the degradation of the soil and the depletion of our wild flowers right now.)

Lincolnshire has many specialities, including the excellent beef and vegetables (many grown on rich and dark, reclaimed fenland soil), plum bread (my mother used to bake this every week), Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, Lincolnshire sausage made out of coarsely chopped pork with sage, Bateman's beers. There's also a delicacy called stuffed chine, which I bought at the local mini-supermarket the other day (vegetarians, please look away now):

Imagine this, perhaps, with some picked onions, beetroot, gherkins and chillies, a small wedge of Lincolnshire Poacher hard cheese, and a slice of wholemeal bread! 

To cook this, the neck chine of a pig (a cut between the shoulder blades) is marinated in brine, then scored with a knife and the cuts filled with parsley, other herbs and some secret ingredients. After a long, slow simmer, it turns into very tasty salt pork, to be eaten cold. It's absolutely delicious. One of the biggest fans of this dish was the French Symbolist poet, Paul Verlaine!

8 comments:

Susan Scheid said...

That chine, which I'd not heard of before, sure looks delicious--and I love that its pedigree includes Verlaine!

Bonnie said...

For a few years my husband and I were quasi-vegetarians, still eating fish two or three times a week. Recently, I developed such a craving for meat and have started to indulge said cravings. The experience has been almost orgasmic! Well ... you know what I mean ...

The stuffed chine looks delicious. I'll have a couple of cornichons and a piece of baguette with that, please. :)

The Solitary Walker said...

Hi, Susan... and Bonnie, I was slightly worried about this post, as I have lots of vegetarian readers, so I'm relieved to get at least two appreciative comments!

I just can't be vegetarian, just can't. Though I'm hardly a big meat eater, and we often eat meat, fish and veg in daily rotation (well, not strictly, but you get my gist!) Love fish, and love vegetables and... most things really. I think it comes from eating quite pickily and frugally as a child due to various psychological problems about my father. I could never eat family Sunday lunch (big joint of beef on the table!) because of the stress and formality.

The Solitary Walker said...

PS I think the subject of food and mealtimes is an endlessly fascinating one, telling so much about the way we are, our fears and phobias and irrationalities, our background, our culture, our beliefs and prejudices, our personal moralities, our giving-and -taking proclivities, our greeds and denials, our varying abilities to share... and so much else!

The Solitary Walker said...

PPS Yes, I think. on reflection, a baguette would marry better with this than a wholemeal loaf, Bonnie!

George said...

I must confess at the outset, Robert, that I have generally avoided both beef and pork for more than thirty years, though I have never been able to relinquish fish and fowl. That said, I always admire an adventurous palate, and reading about various dishes is always a delight, perhaps because, as you suggest, food choices are usually about more than just food. Actually, the stuffed chine sounds like it would delightful with a baguette and a suitable glass of wine.

Ruth Mowry said...

I love your food posts, and I hope you won't hesitate to write about anything you love. I hadn't heard of stuffed chine either, and the way you describe it on a plate those accompaniments, and with George's baguette and wine, I'm sold. (But then I think you could make dirt and swamp water sound delicious.)

I tried being vegan for 6 months after reading The China Study and being convinced animal protein was the root of all disease. But I cannot be vegan/vegetarian either, and I eventually gave up. But those six months were quite blissful as I learned to cook with spice and sauce, so I'm grateful for the education I got.

The Solitary Walker said...

Herbs and spices are some of the chief delights of cookery, Ruth, and I love them too!