The art of butchery

(Oh, to be able to be in more than one place at a time. If only I could have made it.)

Last Saturday, October 16th, was the last of the Chef’s Farm to Table Dinners at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville. These dinners, led by local chefs, have been more than just dinners. Last month, Jim Hamilton of Hamilton’s Grill Room, led a class in the afternoon using an earthen outdoor oven built on the property just for the class, and created a sumptuous meal for thirty guests later that evening. Last week’s class/meal focused on Chef Matt Ridgway and the art of butchery. Guest blogger John Schwarz describes how the day went.

On Saturday afternoon a dozen or so of us cozied up in an old farm building which was for the day transformed into a classroom. Chef Matt Ridgway recently returned to Bucks County to start PorcSalt (a new charcuterie-centric business), and was giving a butchery workshop. Matt showed us basic and not-so-basic knife skills, like how to bone out a leg of lamb with a little-bitty super-sharp $1 knife. He showed us the difference that grass-fed and pasture-raising makes on meat and the difference between production and heritage breeds. That night the group grew to around thirty for the final dinner of the Chef’s Farm to Table Dinner Series hosted by Kristin Perry of the Kitchen Potager. It’s amazing what Matt was able to produce with an open fire, an earthen oven and an over-active imagination. Seriously, here is the menu:

Escargot Pizzette with Parsley Magret Duck Lardo
Kusshi Oysters with Local Apple and Pumpkin Mignonette
“Eggs on Eggs” with Brown Butter and Tennessee Paddlefish Caviar
“La belle Rouge” Tomato and Pumpkin Soup
with a Yellowfin Tuna Tonnato Creme
Lamb Confit Terrine with Lebanese Style Pickles,
Bitter and Succulent Lettuces, Sweetbread Vinaigrette
Roasted Suckling Pig with Boudin Noir,
Roasted Garlic, Cider and Root Vegetable Sal Piquet
Whiskey Tart with Spiced Tabac Creme

It was really a phenomenal experience, and we are all looking forward to next year’s Chef’s Farm to Table Dinner Series. I hear Matt is already working on concepts.

Keep an eye out for the Chef Farm to Table Dinners Kristin Perry at the Kitchen Potager will put together next year.

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