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-The best British produce is under threat.
-At the mercy of foreign invaders, market forces...
-..and food fashion.
-Produce that has been around for centuries...
..could die out within a generation.
So together, we're on a mission...
-..to save it.
-We'll give the best tips how to find it, grow it and cook it.
And, crucially, how to put sensational British produce...
..back on the food map.
When you look at the supermarket shelves nowadays, you simply don't see
the hundreds of potato varieties that used to be available to us.
Well, I am on a mission to bring those varieties back to our dinner plates.
Growing potatoes is a vital part of our heritage.
We've done it for over 500 years, and for centuries,
potatoes have played an important part in the British diet.
But shockingly, over the past 40 years, 97% of potato farmers have left the industry,
and heritage varieties have all but disappeared from our supermarket shelves.
In my campaign to revive the ailing British potato, I'll be meeting
the unsung heroes who are striving to secure our heritage varieties.
That is the maddest thing I have ever seen!
I'll be showing you what you can do to save our great British spud.
The fun of digging them up is you never know what you're going to get underneath.
And I'll be wowing you with three mouth-watering recipes, including potato dauphinoise.
That's the closest you'll get to a snog on a plate.
Because I'm a greengrocer, I often get asked what my favourite vegetable is,
and I think people are really disappointed when I tell them it's the humble potato.
But it's the most versatile thing I know.
I've got lovely memories of my grandmother's roast potatoes.
I can remember the first time I tasted a Jersey Royal.
I can also remember my first batch of Pink Fir Apples I sold to the restaurants.
Where would we be without mash?
Where would we be without chips?
It breaks my heart to think we are not making the most of this beautiful crop.
Here in Britain, we know how to grow great spuds.
We produce over six million tons of them every year, and most of the spuds we do eat are homegrown.
But our tasty tubers have taken a bit of an image battering in recent years.
One in ten adults think they don't contain any nutritional benefits,
and the younger generation are turning to foreign rivals.
I prefer rice or pasta, because they're a lot easier to cook.
They take less time to cook. Potatoes take a lot longer.
And I also think you can kind of jazz up pasta and rice a bit more interestingly than potatoes.
They tend to be quite boring, I suppose.
Healthy? Absolutely not! Not the way I coat them!
I put so much olive oil in them that I don't think you'd call that healthy.
I think potatoes do have an image problem.
My children definitely seem to think so.
If I give them a choice and I say, "Do you want mashed potato or baked potatoes?" They go, "No! Pasta!"
I want to find out how the industry is combating this huge threat.
So I've come to this commercial potato farm at Aberlady in East Lothian,
where the owner also happens to be the chairman of the Potato Council.
What is happening to potato growing in this country?
One of the challenges is that
we have structural decline in demand for potatoes.
Some people think potatoes can be unhealthy, but also some people feel that
there are more convenient and immediate ways in which you can cook a meal, using rice and pasta.
How can that be right, that people are turning their back on the British spud?
Well, people don't necessarily want to have to peel a potato.
But we are able to offer now a whole range of potato products, from fresh to processed, that provide
immediate convenience, just as easy and quick to cook as rice or pasta, but much more nutritious.
There's as much vitamin C in a potato as in a glass of tomato juice. People don't realise.
Are people just going for all-rounders, and is it making potatoes a bit dull?
It's a challenge, yes.
There are many people who don't know one potato variety from another, and it's up to the industry to
make sure we show consumers how to make the best use of potatoes.
Now, the best way to fall back in love with the potato is to get cooking with it.
I've got here one of my favourite potatoes in the world, and that is the King Edward, OK?
It's a really good mixture of waxy and floury, and I'm going to prove
that the only starch that you need in your cupboard is the spud.
I'm going to make the Italian classic potato gnocchi.
I've boiled the potatoes in salted water for about ten minutes.
Now, I'm going to leave those to cool, and I'm going to start my sauce.
Gnocchi is no different to any other potato dish in that,
once you've learnt how to make it, like mash,
or chips or boiled potatoes, once you've learned how to
do them probably, they will go with any flavours you like, OK?
Tomato I'm doing now, because I think everyone should know how to make a good tomato sauce.
Pasta and rice is not part of our heritage.
They're nice things, but that's not what we grew up with.
That's not what our culinary tradition is built on.
We are northern Europeans. We don't grow rice.
We grow spuds, it's what we do! Right.
I'm going to lightly flour this surface.
I've got here one of my favourite contraptions...
..a potato ricer. Look.
Stick that in there...
..and then you just squeeze, gently squeeze,
onto the floured surface.
..over the top.
And now, all you're doing is bringing this together
like a dough, and work it.
Work it and work it,
like a lump of Play-Doh.
And all we've got is the moisture in that potato and flour. It's light.
Look at it. Beautiful thing.
To my base of tomato sauce with onions and garlic, I'm adding some puree to give the flavour more depth.
You take your gnocchi dough. That's still warm.
Break a bit off and roll it.
Now look, that's perfect.
It's up to you, the size of your gnocchi.
I just want to break the end bits off.
I reckon about there, OK?
That's about the size of it.
And then you just press your fork into it like that.
If it starts to come apart on you, put a little bit of flour to hold it.
Feel it. Get to know it.
So it's all coming together.
Before I cook the gnocchi, I need to add herbs to the sauce.
If it's a soft, leafy herb, it goes in at the end.
And I've heard chefs say that you shouldn't cut basil,
you should rip it, cos you lose flavour.
Well, I'll give any blindfolded chef 50 quid if he can tell me
the difference between a cut and a ripped basil.
Stir that in there.
Then, cook the gnocchi.
Remember, we've already cooked the potatoes, OK?
So when they start floating up to the surface, they are done.
Come on, baby.
Drain off the excess water, then add the gnocchi to the tomato sauce.
OK, one last bit of basil.
There it is - my great British potato gnocchi.
It's firm, the potato, yet it's soft.
You may have never had potato like this before.
I told you, you don't need pasta.
Go on, please, just have a go.
On my campaign to revive the ailing British potato, I've found that
it's not just farmers who are working hard to produce great-tasting spuds.
This is the unseen world of potato growing.
Most people think to grow potatoes you throw seeds in the ground,
but it's a lot more complicated than that.
Here in Edinburgh, at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture,
there's a whole department devoted to potatoes.
Some are researching new ways of combating crop-threatening diseases, such as potato blight,
whilst others test the properties of new varieties
to make sure we have the very best chippers and boilers.
But what gets me really excited is there's a massive data bank of heritage potatoes.
OK, so in here we have our living genetic resource collection of over 1,000 potato varieties.
About 1,000 varieties of potatoes growing here?
Every year we grow 1,000 varieties of potato
so that we can keep maintaining the right trueness of type.
So, are they all stored here?
Yep. We can see something you might ask for.
-So is there any particular variety you haven't had?
Do you have any Pentlands?
-Yeah, sure. Heather will bring one up for us.
-This is mad!
This machine is like the Noah's Ark of potatoes, and it houses
some varieties which are no longer grown anywhere else in the world.
Here at the front we've got Pentland Falcon...
-Pentland Hawk, Pentland Ivory, Pentland Raven.
So, all Scottish-bred varieties which aren't very much grown any more.
Beautiful potatoes, but these probably haven't been on the shelves for 20 years.
That's right. That's right.
-Can I have another go?
Salad potatoes - a Roseval?
Yeah, we should have a Roseval for you.
That is the maddest thing I have ever seen!
-There it is. There you go.
It's a little bit sad that you can't access these anymore. You can't get 'em.
Not in supermarkets, but if people want to grow them,
they're here, ready for us to supply to people.
One of the reasons we've lost so many of the old-fashioned heritage potatoes
is that they were prone to the dreaded disease, potato blight,
which is exactly what happened with this particular potato,
which contributed to the deaths of over a million people from starvation
in Ireland in the 19th century.
-This is Lumpers, and this is the potato which is famous for the Irish potato famine.
And it's now fallen into complete disuse.
Was the blight that great because they were all growing the same variety?
-Yeah, that was one of the main reasons.
-I didn't know that. Crikey!
I kind of want to keep one!
No, you can have it.
Incredible. And what is that thing that looks like a turnip?
This is a new variety bred by a Scottish breeder,
which is a general-purpose variety called Apache.
Obviously, it's got a particular look to it,
and it's a very flavourful potato.
Mate, that is just weird.
That's true, but it's eye-catching, though.
But at the end of the day, it all comes down to taste,
and I can't be in a room full of spuds without wanting to eat them.
This is the Apache, which is the new one. You can see already the colour of the flesh.
And here's the Lumpers, which is much paler flesh colour.
-Yeah, go for it. Apache.
I have to say,
that is really nice.
Firm but slightly creamy, really earthy flavour. I really like that.
And what the potato breeders try and do, is blend
the best of the old flavour with new disease-resistant characteristics.
Go for the Lumpers.
See if it was worth all the angst of the famine.
The Lumpers has got nowhere near the flavour...
..of the Apache.
It's almost slightly watery.
Whoa! The science of it!
You know, I had absolutely no idea.
I find that comforting, that people are working really hard to make sure
we've got the best chippers, the best boilers, the best roasters.
I tell you, this has got to help potato sales. It's got to.
The new varieties, they're just cousins of the old ones.
The old ones are still living.
They're living inside the new varieties. They are great.
If you want to get the most from your spuds, you have to remember that different potatoes do different jobs.
If you want to make perfect mashed potato, you want a floury potato.
And the one I've picked here, that you'll be able to get, is the Arran Victory.
For chips, you want something really, really starchy.
I've picked the King Edward. It's one of my favourite chippers, OK?
And for boiling, you want something really waxy.
This is a beautiful, nutty potato. It's a Charlotte.
That's a really good salad potato.
Boils really well. It also roasts really well.
For my second recipe, I'm going to cook a good, old favourite of mine.
I've got here a beautiful red Duke of York. And the reason I've picked it is it's slightly waxy.
I need it waxy, because I don't want it soaking up loads of liquid.
Start by peeling the potatoes.
The dauphinoise is a buttery, garlicky, absolute delight.
I don't know anybody who doesn't like it.
You bring one of those steaming out of the oven...
Basically, it's layers of potatoes with pepper, salt, butter and garlic. I mean, who wouldn't love that?
Would you like me to tell you a story?
When potatoes were brought to Europe, people wouldn't eat them.
They were scared of them. The reason is,
they grew underground and the leaves are related to deadly nightshade, which is poisonous.
Parmentier said to Louis XVI - the last French king who had his head cut off -
"I can get the poor to eat potatoes.
"I'm going to grow some outside the walls of Paris, and would you lend me the Royal Guard?"
People thought they were valuable because they were being guarded,
and like all good, blue-collar city dwellers like me,
they came out at night and nicked 'em.
And they caught on really quickly, as clever Parmentier knew they would.
And his name is still celebrated in France with a cut-up potato.
Peeled 'em, they're clean, we now need to slice 'em.
Get yourself a mandoline.
Which is one of these, not a musical instrument.
You want them about that thick.
Any thicker, they take too long to cook.
Any thinner, and they might actually dissolve into mush.
Keep these in water.
Can you see how the water's changed colour? That's the starch coming off the potatoes.
Starch is what makes them sticky.
Now for the other main ingredient - garlic.
Sprinkle with some sea salt and crush together.
I don't know how much you use garlic.
I'm going to do a dish that big,
and I'm going to do probably three cloves, OK?
But I really like garlic.
There's an old cooking adage which is, you can put in, but you can't take away.
So if you're not sure, do a little bit.
And then next time, do a little bit more.
Drain the potatoes, dry them off, and then you can begin to build your potato layers.
Once you've covered all the holes in the first layer, OK, finer salt now,
twist of pepper...
..little knobs of butter scattered in there.
It will melt and cook and all ooze in, don't worry.
And then little bits of garlic that you crushed up, smeared over it.
It's a messy job. You're going to have it all over your hands.
That's the beauty of it.
everybody has to get everything done at breakneck speed.
It's not like that, cooking at home. If you're late, pour your guests another glass of wine.
You don't have a bald bloke behind you shouting, "You've got ten minutes!"
For the sauce, I'm mixing milk and double cream.
Yum, yum, yum.
Then pour the liquid over the potatoes until it just covers the surface.
Stick it in the oven at 180 degrees for about an hour.
'Ave a butcher's!
Look at that.
Oh, baby, baby!
A few more little crispy ones on top.
One of my favourite ways of serving this dish is with
a good, old-fashioned British pork chop and succulent red cabbage.
Mmm! Mmm, mmm, mmm!
It's getting through that crunch to that beautiful softness underneath.
There's a little hint of garlic there, but the main flavour there is of
good, British, earthy potatoes, straight out of the ground.
It's our heritage. It's beautiful.
That's the closest you'll get to a snog on a plate.
The past 40 years have been tough for potato farmers, and for many,
the only way to stay in business was to concentrate on growing
just one or two varieties, such as the Maris Piper or King Edward.
But there are some brilliant growers out there who are actually bucking the trend,
and they are keeping some amazing heritage varieties alive.
Carroll's Heritage Potatoes in Northumberland
is a relatively small 50-acre farm,
but amazingly, they grow 20 different types of heritage potato,
including this very rare Red King Edward, which dates back to around 1900.
What's special about them? What would people get from heritage varieties they can't get from the big shops?
Some of the conventional varieties, Maris Piper,
they're fine, nothing wrong with them,
but they tend to be Jack of all trades, master of none.
If you want a fantastic roast potato, use something like Arran Victory.
You can have yellow mashed potato out of Yukon Gold.
You can have some absolutely snow white out of Witch Hill.
So there's a whole series of things you can do with these
heritage potatoes that you can't do with the more modern varieties.
Anthony's lifting his last crop of the season, and now,
they'll be cold stored, ready to be shipped to customers when they're required.
We have some Red King Edward that we were harvesting today.
Fantastic potato. It's a red potato with the white eyes.
The opposite to the King Edward that you are probably familiar with,
which is basically pink eyes with a white skin.
We think a slightly better taste, but then we would say that!
-Still a good all-rounder?
What you have with you is some Shetland Black and some Highland Burgundy.
I'll just cut through this one here, and you see that it has some blue flesh through, which is fantastic
if you want to saute potatoes, which keeps the colour.
And are these ones the equivalent in red, then?
Yeah, these are Highland Burgundy Red you have in your left hand there.
And that's it there. So, again, you could call it
a novelty potato, but it does produce a wow factor on the plate.
The reason I love heritage spuds is that they have better flavour,
better texture, colour, and a real taste of history.
So before I leave, I want to sample Anthony's wife's Union Jack potato recipe.
-For you, Gregg.
You've got Salad Blue, Yukon Gold, Red Duke of York and Highland Burgundy.
Smashing my way through these. These are delightful.
This is delicious, which is quite surprising, as I've never been a fan of the Salad Blue potato.
I thought they were hopeless, the only thing to recommend them was their colour. That's not right.
Well, they don't yield very well, but they are pretty brilliant potatoes.
The fact is, it produces something which gets people thinking, looking,
discussing food, which is really what we're about.
I've got to say thank you.
If it wasn't for people like Lucy and Anthony, we'd lose loads more varieties.
They've got this wonderful potato, the Arran Victory.
Beautiful heritage variety.
The reason I've chosen it, it's light and fluffy.
It makes wonderful mash, which means it's perfect for
my last recipe which is the good old British traditional shepherd's pie.
First thing, get the potatoes on, and I'm starting with cold water,
no salt, and I'm leaving the skins on.
And the reason I'm going to do this is the nutrients, the flavour of these beautiful potatoes...
They're not everyday potatoes. I want to treat them with love and care.
All the flavour is just under the skin. I don't want them waterlogged.
I don't want them absorbing loads of water, so we're going to boil them up
with their skins, and peel them afterwards.
Whilst they're cooking, slice up the veg.
Just rough, OK? Because we're going to put them all in a blitzer.
Blitz the living daylights out of it.
I still think the best thing about the shepherd's pie...
And, you know, I'm a very enthusiastic carnivore. The best thing about it is the mash.
Mash - soft, buttery, white mash - I think is probably the ultimate comfort food.
It just goes with absolutely everything.
Onions and potatoes. An absolute marriage made in heaven.
They're very similar because they're both sort of humble.
Always the backing singer, never the star. We'll make it into a star.
Right. Pulse the vegetables in a blender.
Then fry the veg on a medium heat until they go soft, but don't let 'em go brown.
For shepherd's pie, of course, I'm using lamb, and I think there's nothing better than leftovers.
As I slice this, the temptation to just
stick it between two slices of bread is almost overpowering. Cor!
Medium-sized chunks are OK, as they're also going to be blitzed in the blender.
..as they say in Lambeth. Now...
Can I just make a plea?
If you don't cook, just learn how to do this, cos it's wonderful, and everyone will love it.
Can you see now, look, the colour it's taking on, the little speckles?
Now, I've got some pretty sexy flavourings I want to stick in there.
Anchovy sauce, OK?
Now, all of these things are big, distinct flavours. Taste as you go.
Redcurrant jelly next.
Anyone who watches me knows I've got a really sweet tooth!
Mushroom ketchup, right? You may not have used it.
Readily available. Quite sour.
Add Worcester sauce, tinned tomato and a few sprigs of thyme.
And remember, these herbs are powerful.
Don't go putting a whole bush in.
So, the potatoes have been boiling away for about 20 minutes.
Wow! Just look at those beauties!
Now they're ready to be peeled.
Now look, the skin just comes away really easily, and we've protected all that lovely flesh underneath.
The water hasn't gone near it.
And using the ricer again, press the flesh through to get that light and fluffy consistency.
You want them to be like that - I'll get milk
and butter in there in a moment, and you want 'em to incorporate that liquid.
And that's what fluffy potatoes do.
Waxy keeps the liquid out.
Look at that.
Not a lump anywhere.
Apart from in my throat at the beauty of the mashed potato.
So, back on the heat. Butter. I'm going to put a big knob of it.
A little bit of milk.
Who was the first man to decide to mash a potato?
I want to give him a kiss.
Done. Perfect, absolutely perfect.
And let's put the whole thing together.
Place the lamb in an oven-proof dish, followed by a liberal helping of mash.
In the oven.
Right. Depending on the size of your shepherd's pie, between 20 minutes
and 30 minutes at 180. Pour yourself a beer.
You know what?
I've got an oven full of childhood memories!
Oh, my word! Oh!
Bubbling, singing to you!
Don't be stingy.
Nice, big helping.
Served with some green cabbage, lightly cooked, still got its crunch.
And there you have my traditional shepherd's pie,
topped off with those truly wondrous Arran Victory heritage potatoes.
If the British potato is to stand any chance of being revived,
we've all got to play our part, and that includes growing our own.
The great thing about potatoes is they only need a small container,
so you can grown them in soil on a balcony, or an allotment.
Best to plant your seeds around April.
It'll take roughly five months, and then you'll be cooking your own spuds.
The fun of digging them up, you never know what you'll get.
So far, I've been getting some really good results. You know, a good couple of kilos per plant.
It really is that simple, and I promise you, you will love the results.
That tastes delicious.
That is truly wonderful.
I've been on a bit of a journey here and, yeah, I'll admit that
bog-standard potatoes, they do do a decent job,
but if you want something truly lovely - I mean, outstanding -
then you have to track down some of these old heritage varieties.
Look, right now, why don't we just start a great British spud revival?
Now you've heard from me, but here's someone else who is just as a passionate
about reviving the fortunes of a great British meat.
My name's Clarissa Dickson Wright and I'm going to introduce you to
an ingredient that you may very well never have tasted,
rare-breed British pork, and you are going to love it.
From the humble bacon sandwich to the glorious Sunday roast,
pork is one of the most popular meats in Britain.
That looks lovely.
I'm passionate about pork, so join me on a sumptuous odyssey
through the forgotten world of our traditional British breeds.
As part of my revival, I'll be meeting one of our rarest pigs, the British Lop.
Our breed secretary described them as being more rare than the giant panda.
I'll be finding out what you think of some of our traditional pork dishes.
-Can I offer you a piece of Lincolnshire chine?
-No, that's all right.
-I'm a vegetarian!
And I'll be using pork lard in the revival kitchen to make a wonderful pudding for Sunday lunch.
You only get pastry like this using lard.
As well as revealing my secret for the perfect crackling.
Hear how lovely the crackling is.
Hey! Off we go!
I first fell for pigs when I was really quite small and I came to love pigs,
both for the pleasure of their company and the joy of their flesh.
Here, piggy, piggy, piggy. I'm not going to eat you yet.
Yes, I love pigs. Pigs are wonderful. Piggy, piggy, piggy.
Go out and meet the pigs, look at the pigs, talk to the pigs, but eat them, by all means eat them.
There is no question that we are a nation who loves our pork.
But 98% of all the pork we eat is from commercial pigs,
bred to suit the demands of the supermarkets.
In our drive for profits, have we forgotten our heritage?
Some of these handsome, traditional breeds have been brought back from the edge of extinction
by a few brave farmers. And now it's up to us to safeguard their future.
For the first stop on our revival of rare-breed pork,
I want to discover a little more about rich pig heritage,
so I'm meeting Richard Lutwyche,
a wonderful pig historian.
You've got to think that everything was dominated by the
local lord of the manor, the squire,
and he would be the only one who kept a boar for breeding purposes.
Whatever boar type he had, if he had a black pig, then gradually in that area,
all the pigs were dominated by the genes and they became black. And so it spread out.
But everybody kept pigs, didn't they?
Oh, they did, certainly in the country. I mean, people had a very close relationship with pigs.
And that shows up in our folklore and our English language, very much so.
My father kept pigs in St John's Wood on a bit of land in Hamilton Terrace.
People said, "Who killed them for you?"
and he said, "I'm senior surgeon of St Mary's, Paddington.
"Who the hell do you think killed them?" So they're our heritage.
We should be proud of them.
It was a government publication in 1955 that would change the fate
of our traditional breeds forever.
Ruddy government, interfering again.
I mean, this...
the Howitt Report,
makes me so angry. Listen to this.
"In the first place, we have formed the view that one of the main handicaps facing
"the British pig industry today is the diversity of the type of pig
"which is found throughout the country.
"The pig industry will, in our view, only make real progress when it concentrates on a few main types
"and, if it were at any time found possible, on a single type of pig for commercial production."
How angry does that make you?
The sort of pigs they were going for are the ones that
we've now been blighted with in our commercial life,
which are very fast growing, very, very lean and taste of nothing at all.
A single type of commercial pig!
All our heritage, all those delicious pigs. That's what they're asking for.
That's what they wanted. Just one dull, dull type of commercial pig.
Makes me so angry.
After the Howitt Report came out and there was all this move to intensification,
we actually lost four unique, distinct breeds from this country.
Once it's gone, it's gone. It's extinct.
Gone forever. There are people who say you can recreate them,
but it is really just science fiction, it will never happen.
So that was lesson number one.
A history lesson. How we got to where we are now.
If you're still not convinced, stick with me and watch this space.
One of the best ways to get rare-breed pork back on our food map is to cook it.
For my first recipe, I'm going to cook...
The great thing about rare-breed pigs is the fact that they have a good covering of fat on them.
Between the skin and the fat there is a little line of muscle
which raises the skin and just gives the most perfect crackling.
And you won't find that in a commercial, numbered breed pig.
Start by making the walnut and caper stuffing that will soak
up any extraneous fat and really bring out the flavour of the pork.
Put the garlic and onion on to a gentle heat until they are soft.
I'm now going to add these morsels of bread, day-old bread, so they're not too fresh.
Otherwise it just falls apart.
For texture, I also use walnuts in the stuffing
and then, for flavour, some capers and lemon juice.
These ingredients will offer a sharp contrast to the sweet meat.
Then take the pan off the heat and bind the stuffing by mixing in two eggs.
Leave it to cool and start to prepare your meat.
In order to get the crackling to crackle, you need to score it
and for that you really need a craft knife.
The whole point of scoring your skin is so that it can rise up into crackling.
If you were doing this with a commercial pig,
you'd be straight through to the meat because there's not enough fat.
Once scored, rub the fat with oil and salt.
And then take your stuffing and put it into the pocket in your meat.
Then tie up the shoulder as tightly as possible.
So not only will you hold your stuffing in, but you will also
form a cohesion in the meat, so that when it's cooking, it'll be tightly bound together.
You may say, "Oh, it's too much trouble!
It's too much to go out and "find rare-breed pork.
"It's a little bit more expensive."
Well, put your children in expensive trainers and watch them grow up without the benefit of good food
and the better the quality of the food we eat, the healthier we will be.
Good food takes effort and time, and this shoulder will roast in the oven for almost three hours.
But the results are spectacular.
Remove the crackling to reveal one of the many advantages of rare-breed pork.
You see the little ridge of muscle that runs under the fat
and raises the crackling up so you get really good crackling?
And there again you see how lovely and crisp the crackling is.
And let's have a little bit of kale on this
And there you have it.
Really nice stuffing, too.
That's very satisfactory.
I don't only want you to enjoy the taste of rare-breed pork.
I want you to fall in love with the pigs themselves.
So I'm taking you to Oakham in Leicestershire.
Here we are at Northfield Farm and I'm here to meet a dear friend of mine, Jan McCourt,
who is almost as passionate about saving rare-breed pigs as I am.
Jan McCourt was once a high-flying City banker, but now he invests in
one of our rarest breeds of pig, the British Lop.
I'm really excited about seeing the Lops.
We've got quite a few more from the last time you saw them.
We've had a couple of litters born and we've brought in a few from the rare-breed sale at Melton,
including a very smart, young, new boar.
Oh, very exciting!
So it's all aboard as we start our rare-breed safari.
Hey! Off we go!
When you took over the farm, presumably,
it would have been a lot easier for you just to have ordinary breeds.
When I left the City, I was made redundant and I decided this was
an opportunity, so I opened the farm shop within a very short time.
And the biggest challenge was finding pork, rare-breed pork.
So I thought the only obvious thing to do was to start them ourselves.
There's a couple of our Saddlebacks.
-Good old girls.
It's wonderful to see these pigs in so much space, a world away from most commercial pig farms.
-Look, British Lops, surely.
-There you go, yep.
There's our new boar in with one of his girlfriends. Do you want to have a look?
Yeah, why not?
Ah! Look at them.
You can see why they're called "Lop". Look at the ears on her.
Yeah, they're absolutely fantastic.
-Some of them have even bigger ears.
They'll end up the size of the average, decent-sized kitchen table.
And his ears will be probably twice the size of that.
How rare is the British Lop? I know it's one of the very rare ones.
Well, our breed secretary, in the latest newsletter,
he described as them as being more rare than the giant panda.
More rare than the giant panda!
-Think of it.
-A colourful character in his own right, I don't know whether that's statistically correct,
but when you think that this breed was saved from extinction by just three families in Cornwall,
it's still very delicate.
You're talking in the hundreds of breeding females, not thousands or tens of thousands.
If people understood that the most simple way to save these breeds
is to encourage and the support the farmers that are rearing them.
And you do that by saying, "I want to eat rare-breed pork,"
and taking as big an interest as you possibly can.
This is all about passion first. Because one of the things...
-it certainly isn't making money.
What a lovely rub.
That's a fantastic image of a happy pig, isn't it?
If I can get you to eat more rare-breed pork, then together
we will be safeguarding the future of these beautiful animals.
But before you eat it, you need to buy it
and for that you will need to find a good butcher or farm shop.
Most people will never see this. They're afraid of this.
They are afraid of it and I think the simplest way to distinguish it,
go and buy a piece of pork,
particularly a leg of pork from a supermarket.
You might as well chew on that block.
You might as well chew on cardboard or a paper bag
for the comparison.
Once people discover quite how good it is, do they mind the extra cost?
No, I've found they don't, because people that understand,
what they can't afford, they'll reduce the amount.
Because eat less and eat better is fundamental to the whole thing.
You can see the marbling that runs through and that is all important.
No fat, no flavour.
If you cook it with the fat on,
cut the fat off and give it to me, if I happen to be sitting at the same table,
it's the flavour, it's the taste.
Pig fat has a variety of uses, not least in pastry and, in particular, pork pies.
This is the hand-raised Melton Mowbray pork pie with our own pork
and, of course, with lard, which is the pig ingredient as well, even in the pastry.
So there you are, the end of lesson two.
What have you learnt from this?
Passion and good husbandry make perfect pigs and farmers make food for you.
You must be convinced by now.
For my second recipe I'm going to make...
Now this type of pastry
is made by heating together lard and water to a rolling boil.
As the lard and water begin to boil, add a pinch of salt to the flour
and then pour in the boiling liquid.
Begin by stirring the mixture, but as soon as it is cool enough to handle, it is time to knead the pastry.
It cools quite quickly and it's quite important to do it as soon as you can, so that the
fat doesn't cool too much, otherwise it won't mix in well with the flour.
Now do you see? It's a very soft, malleable crust.
And what I have here is a dolly.
This is a traditional implement.
It comes in all sorts of different sizes for raising a pie crust round.
You just want to mould your pastry up the dolly.
As well as the pie crust, it is vital to remember to shape a lid for the pie at this point.
Once the pastry has been prepared, allow it to cool in the refrigerator.
The lard solidifies and it will help the crust to hold its shape for the damson pie filling.
So here is a ready-chilled raised pie.
I'm something of an authority on raised pies,
because I have judged the great Yorkshire pork pie contest on three separate occasions
and, I have to say, it was one of the most terrifying things
I ever had to do in my life, because I could have lost all my reputation in Yorkshire if I'd got it wrong.
Layer the pie with quince paste, a thick jam that will turn to liquid in the heat of the oven.
Then the damsons.
These have been stoned and frozen to give them a delicious texture.
A sprinkle of sugar will help to sweeten the filling, but the pie should still have a sharp kick to it.
And finally, all I have to do is put the lid on and crimp it.
And then make a little hole in the top to let the steam out.
It takes only 25 minutes for the ingredients to melt together and make the perfect pie.
So the "moment critique".
You see how it's sunk down on itself
and has gone into this rather nice sort of medieval look really, hasn't it?
See, look at that. Look how lovely and gooey and sticky.
And you only get pastry like this
and you only get really good lard from old-breed, rare-breed pigs.
Mm. Lovely acidity with the damsons.
The real crunchiness of the pastry.
There you are, you see? Terribly simple.
Nice little pie for your pudding.
What could be more delicious?
The great tragedy of my revival campaign is that we are too late for some our rare-breed pigs.
They have already died out.
I'm heading to Louth in Lincolnshire
to find out about a massive beast of a pig that is sadly extinct...
the Lincolnshire Curly Coat.
Is it true that you remember the Lincolnshire Curly Coat as a boy?
Yes, I do.
When I was a lad, almost everyone kept a pig down the garden
they were unhappy unless the pig reached 40 stones at least.
And the fat on the back would be that deep.
It's sad, isn't it, that today's youngsters will never have the chance to sit on the back of a
Lincolnshire Curly Coat and never see a pig like that?
Although the Curly Coat has gone, its legacy lives on through the work of local butchers like Jim Sutcliffe.
In Lincolnshire, we used to butcher our pigs very differently,
because the Lincolnshire Curly Coat was so fat that they couldn't get in
very well with a saw to cut down the middle of the spine.
So they had to go through the rib bones,
and that then produced a cut that is exclusive to Lincolnshire.
This exclusive cut follows the line of the pig's backbone and includes the meat on either side.
The chine, when it is released, is a long meaty cut, perfect for curing.
Jim uses the cured meat to make Lincolnshire stuffed chine, a traditional regional dish.
Given that this was a dish that was associated with the Lincolnshire Curly Coat,
was it ever in danger of going out because there wasn't a suitable pig?
I think there was a possibility that it would have done had
certain people not carried on curing a chine no matter what.
And, luckily, there's been quite a good number of rare-breed pigs in the county
to fall back on a substitute.
But I'm quite sure that the stuffed chine probably
isn't a patch on what it used to be when it was made from a Curly Coat and matured for months.
The pork is stuffed with fresh parsley, before being steamed in an oven for eight hours.
Only then is it ready to eat.
That's lovely, really lovely.
I think you should cut me a few slices and I can take it out
-to the people of Louth and see what they think about it.
And if you can give me a meat cleaver in case they don't like it.
Hello. Can I offer you a piece of?
Chine! Do you know, we were teaching this to children the other day,
all the products of Lincolnshire.
Yes, please. My mother always used to buy chine. Thank you.
I would offer you a piece of chine but I think you've got your hands full.
I've got a spare hand now.
-Oh, that's lovely.
-Isn't that good?
It is. Chine's lovely.
-Can I offer you a piece of Lincolnshire chine?
-No, it's all right.
-I'm a vegetarian!
Yes, I can do that with this.
It's great to see that most of the people of Louth
still have a healthy appetite for their traditional food.
Before I leave, I want to investigate one farm
which claims to have brought back the Curly-Coated pig to Lincolnshire.
-Good morning. Brian Codling.
-And this is my wife, Sylvia.
-Welcome to the Old Rectory, Clarissa. It's lovely to meet you.
-Lovely old rectory.
So this property would have known the Lincolnshire Curly Coat?
They used to have some here and just at the farm, across the road. Do you want to see some?
I'd love to see some of your pigs.
-Walk this way.
Well, they're certainly curly coated.
-These three are very good examples of Curly Coats.
They've got lovely thick coats.
So what are these pigs?
These are pure-bred Mangalitza curly-coated pigs.
They're native to Austria and Hungary.
And you have a theory that they are related to the Lincolnshire Curly Coat?
There's some of the Lincolnshire Curly Coat genes in.
We don't know how much, but definitely Lincolnshire Curly Coats
were exported from this country to the Austro-Hungarian area and cross-bred with the Mangalitza.
-And so now you think they've come back to Lincolnshire? Well, they have come back to Lincolnshire!
It's nice to have curly-coated pigs back in Lincolnshire.
Yes. Very good.
-Delilah's next door to these...
Now there's a magnificent pig.
My, my, my, Delilah.
Wonderful, and look at the size of her. Magnificent.
Like the Lincolnshire Curly Coat, the Mangalitza is bred for its fat.
It's a tallow pig, but it produces a very agreeable meat.
Although, technically, not a British pig, it is interesting to see them where the Curly Coats once stood.
For my third and final recipe I'm going to cook...
Start by pouring some anchovy oil into a baking tray with a dash of olive oil.
Into this, place chopped onion and garlic.
The trick with not crying when you peel onions, or chop onions,
is to leave the pointed end intact, cos that is where the gland is that causes you to weep.
There you are, not a tear in sight.
Once the onions begin to simmer, crush the garlic.
One of the advantages of being my sort of weight
is that when you lean on a garlic clove...
It stays leaned on.
There was a time in my life when I used to get rugby forwards to come and roll out my pastry for me.
I don't need to do that any more.
One met a lot of nice rugby forwards.
When the onions have softened, add the anchovies
and the chestnuts.
Then score the meat.
The secret to good crackling is to rub salt and oil deep into the fat of the belly.
As Fanny Craddock used to say,
rub it as if into the face of your worst enemy.
And then take your piece of pork and just put it on top
of everything that's in there.
Then add some beer to the bottom of the pan, making sure not to cover the skin.
This is providing some liquid just to help cook the pork and to stop things
sticking to the bottom, cos it's going to cook for quite a long time.
It's going to have half an hour in a hot oven just to
set the crackling and then it's going to have about three hours
in a cooler oven just to gently cook away and bring out the flavours.
This pork belly is so simple to prepare, but the results are magical.
Look at that. Doesn't that look lovely?
The extra fat, the texture of the meat and that indescribable sound of Sundays.
Hear how lovely the crackling is.
Look at that. You see how soft and lovely it is now? See that?
The knife just goes straight into it as though it were butter.
And, of course, the advantage with rare-breed pork is that it will hold together
until it's soft as butter, rather than just fall apart as it would if it was a horrid commercial pig.
Excellent accompaniments to this delicious meat are celeriac puree and wilted spinach.
The final touch is to flambe the sauce with a ladle of brandy.
Brandy, of course, will not ignite until it's hot enough, as those of you who've failed
to ignite your Christmas pudding will have learnt the hard way.
So there we are, you see?
Just pour it into the pan
and it burns off not only all the alcohol but any extraneous fat that you might have.
A few chestnuts and the beer sauce with melted anchovy complete the plate.
So there we have it, belly of pork with anchovies and chestnuts.
And what more could you ask in life really?
I would hope that you are now ready to jump up from your sofa and hunt down your local rare-breed supplier.
Of course, you could always keep rare-breed pigs yourself, like these pig fanatics.
As long as you register with DEFRA, anyone can do it.
Tony York runs a one-day pig-keeping course for the hobby farmer
and he thinks there will be a big increase in the number of us keeping pigs.
I think over the next five to ten years,
we're going to see such a dramatic increase in rare-breed
pig keeping and people keeping pigs on a small scale that we will almost
be getting back to those days around the end of the Second World War when so many families had their own pigs.
It's not difficult to keep a pig.
It's very easy. Probably almost the easiest farm animal to keep.
But don't think you have to work alone.
You could form a co-operative, like this group of friends in Staines.
We were all a bit fed up with the quality of the pork we got in supermarkets
and, for me, the biggest benefit of keeping my own pigs is knowing the provenance of the meat.
I know exactly what they've eaten and I know therefore that the meat is going to be good quality.
So there we are, the end of the journey,
and I hope you are now convinced to eat British rare-breed pork
and that you will save lots of species from extinction and enjoy the journey. Have fun.
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