Edna Lewis ranks with the best of cookbook authors from any place or time, but nobody has remarked on the palpable English influence on her food. That is all the more remarkable because, in The Taste of Country Cooking and elsewhere, she uses terms that no longer find favor outside the most fastidious traditional English kitchen. One of them is ‘hasslet,’ which she uses to describe offal. It should not have gone unnoticed until now that this pudding looks like nothing so much as the traditional English haslet fashioned from the pluck of a pig. You will need a metal loaf pan or oven pot (not as good) of two quart capacity.
- 1½ lb pork liver (see the Notes)
- 1½ lb fresh (not cured) pork belly
- an onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 cups liquid used to boil the meats
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- pinch cayenne
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- Cut up neither belly nor liver(s) but place them in a snug pot with the onion. Add enough water to cover the meat, bring the pot to a boil and immediately reduce it to a simmer and cook until the belly becomes tender, usually in about 1½ hours.
- Take the belly, liver and onion from the pot, let them cool, then destroy them in a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 250˚.
- Add 2 cups of the cooking water to the ground ingredients: “Pour off the top water and use the bottom liquid because it contains residue from the cooked meat.
- Add the salt, pepper and sage to the mix, then stir everything together; “you will have a very liquid batter.”
- Pour the uncooked pudding into the loaf pan and bake it “until the pudding has completely dried down. If not cooked enough, the pudding will not slice properly.”
- Let the pudding cool, then refrigerate it overnight to allow the texture to set and flavors to settle.
-Miss Lewis prefers hog jowl to the belly, and she is right. It has the fat of the belly but a lot more gelatin, which helps the pudding set and gives it a finer texture. If you can find some jowl jump on it.
-Pork liver, while ubiquitous in Britain and a staple of Chinese groceries in the bigger American cities, can be hard to find elsewhere in the United States. Go ahead and substitute chicken livers.
-The recipe is simple and sublime, even by the standards of Old School haslet. Some of the older English recipes would season the pudding with cayenne and mace; do so if you choose.