2013年11月15日金曜日

'Finishing' the ducks Nov 4

The end of the rice growing year is a really social time.

All the farmers who have had ducks working in their rice field during the year get together and we 'finish' them.  The first year I was REALLY nervous about this- I imagined a gruesome bloodbath of panicked and traumatised ducks squealing in pain.

Thank GOODNESS the reality is nothing like that and three years in I am quite the amateur butcher.

Who woulda thought???

Seriously, I don't think I ever even gutted a fish in Australia!

The last two years I was put to work on the plucking tables. A pretty mind-numbing job- not much thinking involved really: see feather, pluck. Repeat. But lots of opportunity to chat as you work.

This year I was promoted.

Oooo Errrrrr!

I moved into the butchering building:



This is the first room in the butchering building- ducks are placed in the cones head down and their necks are cut in just the right place so that the artery is severed and they die in seconds. They are left there to drain.

Then they go to the guy on the left who swishes them around in the cauldron of boiling water. This is a highly technical job as leave them in too long and the subcutaneous fat starts to melt but too short a time and the feathers won't come out easily.  The guy in the white apron is at the next station- the plucker. This is the coolest machine- it's like a washing machine with hundreds of rubber nodules on the inside. The ducks are swished around in there and water/ centrifugal force plucks them for you- SOOO much easier than doing it from scratch by hand!

This room is the 'dirty' room. From here (around the corner out of sight) are sinks and stainless steet tables where the boss (a qualified butcher) breaks the carcus down into a head (thrown out) two breasts, two legs (minus feet), two sasami strips, two wings and a ribcage.

I was working the next table taking the carcus, removing the big glob of fat at the tail, the backfat releasing and removing the neck skin and fat, finding and separating out the esophagus and trachea then using my knife like a mallet to remove the neck. The fat and neck are kept for making soup and the duck moves to the next station where the heart and liver are removed for eating (shudder but K loves them) and then passed to the NEXT station where the gizzard is removed and kept (shudder) and the remaining parts (bones and lungs and spleen and stuff)are thrown out. 

By separating the butchering into so many stations each piece of meat is kept clean and hygenic.  There is even a closed clean room for bagging and chilling the finished product.

After a full day of working on the ducks I went home and.....

Rendered all those necks and bottom fat globules (wow that sounds enticing doesn't it???) into duck fat and made confit.

YUMMMM!

But the before shot is pretty gruesome!


And what were the girls doing while K and I were busy butchering?

Well, Amy tried her hand at plucking for a while and then deemed it boring and left and joined Meg in running wild all over the farm and pretending to drive the tractor and playing quoits with frisbees in the post-harvest rice paddies ect etc.

They were having so much fun none of the kids even came in for afternoon tea the second day!


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