The Whole Beast
“Fergus Henderson’s The Whole Beast is an astounding cookbook. This is food that might very well restore our plaintive spirits during a difficult time in world history. Anyone who loves cooking and doesn’t buy this book should seek extensive therapy” – Jim Harrison
I saw The Whole Beast – nose to tail eating, the first time at Thomas Maxwells a couple of years ago, and then the search started, and eventually Exclusive Books phoned me last week to tell me my copy has arrived. I have not seen this book in the years between Thomas Maxwells and the phone call at any of my friends or family, a bit odd if you take the amount of cookbooks we own as a group, but the following part taken from the introduction by Anthony Bourdain might explain it. “A few lucky chefs would return from their pilgrimages to The Restaurant, glassy-eyed, like new converts, smiling serenely. They wouldn’t brag about their find. (They might then be asked to lend their copies.) They didn’t show them around – as The Book might become damaged or smudged.”
Reading the above you might not find it surprising that I immediately cooked something out of the book, I decided that even though I don’t normally cook out of recipe books I will stay true to the great man and follow his recipe step by step, ingredient by ingredient, but as always, I started to cook and find that I don’t have everything in any case, so there goes that novel idea, but I did stick to most of the ingredients.
This is not the type of dish you cook quickly after work on a week night, the pork trotters together with a bottle of wine, carrots, garlic, onions, herbs, bay leaves, celery, leeks, peppercorns and chicken stock goes in the oven for 3 hours, the meat and skin will cook together with the strained juices for another hour, and then you still have to brown the chicken, the everything goes together in the oven for a further 50 minutes all together, so as you can see, you will spend a bit of time on this dish, but it is time well spend.