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How to make Bath Chaps…

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A plain recipe for Bath Chaps in the straightforward and traditional style from Elizabeth Ayrton’s English Provincial Cooking.

How to make Bath Chaps… Recipe

Ms Ayrton, a reliable chronicler of plain English food, wrote various cookery books in 1960’s & 1970’s. She was rather dismissive of making-your-own Chaps believing “It is hardly worth making them at home unless other parts of the pig are being salted, or you particularly like to make traditional dishes”.

Charcuterie Lovers may think otherwise! To find out, go to What Is…Bath Chaps.

Ingredients

  • 1 pig’s cheek (order from the butcher 2 or 3 days before it is required)
  • 180g demerara sugar
  • 15g/2 tsps saltpetre (this can be omitted)
  • 120g bay/coarse sea salt
  • 500g salt
  • 150g dry breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Wash the cheek well in cold water. Spread it out and rub the sugar mixed with the saltpetre, if you are using it, well into all sides. Lay it in a large dish, mix the salts and smother the pig’s cheek in the mixture. Keep for 10 days in a cool place or in the refrigerator, turning it every 2 days and spooning the salt over it.
  2. At the end of this time drain the cheek, wash it in cold water and soak it in fresh cold water overnight. Drain it again, roll it length ways and tie it tightly with string. It will need 6 to 7 ties.
  3. Put the pig’s cheek in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and skim. Cover and simmer gently for 2 hours. Drain, cut string and remove any skin. Cover the cheek thickly with crumbs, allow to get quite cold and serve at any time during the next 3 or 4 days.

Serve cold with a good mild mustard, a green salad and plenty of hot, dry wholemeal toast.

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