Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rolled Spleen for Breakfast

So! Yesterday afternoon I made the pork spleen, using the recipe in Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast. I followed the recipe almost exactly and his book is worth a look (this link will take you to the Amazon page) so I won't reproduce it here except to note deviations. His book does not have pictures, though, and I think they will help if this is your first time working with spleen.

This is the spleen. The lacy fat pulled up just to the left, I *think* is intestinal fat and could be used to wrap a small terrine or something similar.

I have now cut off the fat and taken out the vein and sliced the spleen in half. (I did this because I did not realize you were supposed to allow one spleen per person, and I wanted each person to have a distinct roll.) I used the scissors to cut out the vein without taking any "meat." I did not remove the silver skin - I'm not sure if I was supposed to or not, but the silver skin was very fine, and even with it left on the result was was excellent, so I don't think I will in the future unless I'm given a compelling reason. BTW, almost all of the pile of scrap on the left is fat, which I froze for future rendering.

Now I have laid the sage and bacon on both pieces, and have rolled up and pinned one piece. I decided on two toothpicks so that I could more evenly pull the spleen together. The two pieces of bacon were each a little longer than their respective spleen halves, so I cut off the ends and wrapped them into the middle. Also, I used more sage than was called for, basically putting down as many leaves as fit side by side.

The spleen rolls are now out of the oven. Instead of chicken stock I used the last of my smoked turkey "consomme" to cook it in. They cooled, but we weren't hungry enough to have them for dinner last night. So I put them in the fridge, covered, overnight.

In the morning there was a good layer of fat on the top, so I put it in a 175F oven just until the fat had melted enough for me to pull out the spleen.

And this is the happy result! Rolled spleen served with scrambled eggs and potato pancakes. The whitish curls are the bacon.

Spleen is really really good. It's like the best pate I've ever had. The texture is smooth and velvety even though the spleen itself is dense. The smoky bacon and smoked turkey broth enhanced the taste without overpowering it. The dish is very rich, and we both thought half a spleen was plenty for each person. Also, it could do just as well at a state dinner as on your country breakfast plate. One slice, served on a blanched cabbage leaf or even a cracker would make a very good appetizer as part of a multi-course meal.

Try it and let me know your results!


  1. There are so few spleen recipes to be found. This was useful information, thank you so much.

  2. Sorry, but the photo used indicated a cut which our local Korea market labels "pork flap" which is in fact the edge of the animal's diaphragm,

    This cut can be prepared many ways.
    The recipe above sounds really good.

  3. You can also find them in Chinese and English markets as "pork melts" and in Filipino markets as "Lapay." SriLankans apparently are quite fond of them as well, using them as an 'extender meat' in curries.