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Stuffed Pig's Stomach (Hog Maw)

Serves 6 to 8

It might sound like an oddity, but pig stomach is so good. Ever since I can remember, it was my birthday dinner of choice. However, since I moved to North Carolina, I tried some stomachs from a local butcher, but they were salted, not well trimmed, and completely different than what we got in Pennsylvania. One time my brother shipped some from PA, but the shipment was delayed and some of the stomachs spoiled. He tried to find a butcher who would ship them directly, but they won't take the chance. So, it has been years since I have had my favorite birthday dinner, but I will never forget how delicious this recipe is.

If you can get the stomachs, but are skeptical, please don't be. The stomach you use is the lining and, if cleaned well, contains no fat. It is just muscle and a thin layer of meat. It is something like a sausage casing with some meat on it. The meat is so tasty and the meaty parts are chewy (I love chewy). The good news is that people who refuse to eat the stomach still enjoy the stuffing, which is just sausage, potatoes and onions. Hey...that leaves more of the stomach for those of us who like it. I would not complain one bit.

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix together sausages, potatoes and onions. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Sew the small opened end of the stomach with cooking twine to close. Stuff sausage mixture into stomach, pressing well with each addition. The stomach has a lot of elasticity and will stretch to almost any size necessary. When all stuffing has been placed inside, close open end with twine.

Place stuffed stomach in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until potatoes are tender (check by inserting a thin sharp knife into middle of stomach), about 2 hours, basting about every 20 minutes with water or pan juices.

Remove stomach from roasting pan. Drain off most of the fat. Make the flour paste in a small bowl. Place the roasting pan on a burner on top of stove. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, scraping up all of the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Gradually add flour paste, whisking rapidly and constantly, until the gravy thickens. To serve, slice stomach into 1 inch thick slices. Pass gravy separately.

Notes: Fresh and smoked sausages in various regions are seasoned different. You will have to use your own tastes when purchasing. I would not recommend breakfast sausage. If you cannot find plain fresh sausage as in Pennsylvania, use a mild Italian.

Variations: Many years ago, an Italian friend of mine was visiting on my birthday and had this dish. He suggested that it might be good using Italian sausage and adding tomatoes, garlic and oregano. Well, I tried it, and it is very good. The recipe is in the similar recipes links. Additionally, since I first posted this recipe, I heard from someone whose mother always added chopped cabbage to the stuffing. That sounds very good, as well.