Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Culinary Advantages

It was at the very first PASA pot-luck dinner I attended that I heard someone say, "we may be poor as church mice, but we eat like kings and queens." Given the incredible dinner we all shared that evening, I thought I understood what they had meant. However, it wasn't until I began humanely raising rose veal and going to farmers market that I really understood what they were talking about. Veal sweetbreads, kidney & fries in a tarragon caper red wine reduction.

Just a few weeks ago, a gentleman came up to me at the farmers market and asked if I butchered the veal young enough to get sweetbreads, which is basically the thymus gland. As calves age, the gland shrinks until it eventually disappears. My response to him was yes, however, they never make it to market as they are my 'treat' to myself for all the work that goes into raising the calves. I may not be able to afford dinner out (or more like stay awake) at an upscale restaurant that serves sweetbreads from organically and humanely raised veal, but by golly, I can cook them up right here at home!

That got me thinking about the other 'premium' items that I take for granted. While sweetbreads may be the cream-of-the-crop when it comes to veal delicacies, I realized that there are other items I routinely snag for personal consumption (heart, kidneys, fries & tongue). While I end up with as much as 150 pounds of gorgeous rosy meat cuts and several 5-pound bags of bones per calf, my goodies are in short supply with each calf only providing one or two of each item.

So today when I was rummaging around in the deep freeze, I came across a bag of what others consider offal squirreled away. The heart & tongue went into a pot for poaching the fries, kidneys and sweetbreads before I dredged them in flour and cooked them up in some of my tarragon, shallots and home-made butter. The remaining stock will be the base for my sister, Joan's awesome sausage kale soup I'm going to make tomorrow with some bulk bratwurst (what's left in the auger when the butcher does our links) and fresh kale from Prescott's Patch.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I'd read this prior to my own experiment with sweetbreads in a French bistro earlier this year. I would have appreciated the delicacy more than I did once I discovered what part of the calf I was eating.