Mar 4, 2013

Stomaching Dinner

I'm just going to throw this out in the open.  First thing.  That way if you have a weak stomach, you can move on.

See how goooood I am to you?

This post is going to be about stomachs.  

Pig stomachs if you're wondering.  And other pig parts.
But not the "bacon makes everything better" kind of parts with sexy bacon pictures that will be Pinned and shared
on Google +.

No.  I'm risking being that weird kid who never quite fit in.

But the fact is food is not always magazine perfect.
On clean wiped plates.

Where and how we get our food is not always neat, uniform packages or rainbow lines of produce.

There are people behind the scenes handling the dirty, grisly tasks so we don't have to.

In Cajun country, we have these things called boucheries.  My city holds one the Sunday before Mardi Gras.  I've given the details before--here...and pictures here...of why and how these hog butcherings take place.  

The gist: a throwback to a time lacking refrigeration but a want for meat, multiple families pooling resources, and nothing wasted.

Blood is drained and used to make boudin rouge (blood sausage).  The head is used to make hog's head cheese.  There's also backbone stew.  And pork steaks.

Intestines are cleaned and stuffed with a mixture of ground pork, cooked rice, and seasonings to make the popular Cajun breakfast (and snack): boudin.

Chunks containing layers of skin, fat, and meat are fried in the hog lard to make another popular Cajun treat: cracklins.

Nothing is wasted.  Not even the stomachs.

This is ponce.  A Cajun delicacy.  Often served for Sunday dinner and for holidays.  Because it's deemed special.

It is a pig stomach that is cleaned and stuffed with a pork sausage type of mixture--ground pork with seasonings, onions, peppers, etc.  Most often it is smoked.

I know. 

What you're thinking.

I know because I thought it too.

I once wrote about plate lunches, saying that if the offering was ponce, I'd go elsewhere.  Not something I was eager to try.  I get it.  I do.

It's weird.  And shocking.  And maybe even...ick.

But then I tried it.  And maybe it is still weird.  And shocking.

But it wasn't ick.  Far from it.  It was smoky and rich and succulent.

It's really not all that different from sausage.  The casing is stomach instead of intestine.
Just moving a little higher up in the world is all.

The Husband cooked--made rice and gravy with the ponce.  The butcher told him the leftovers make good sandwiches.

We didn't have leftovers.

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Ponce with Gravy

1 smoked ponce
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
salt, pepper, Tony's Creole Seasoning, to taste
cooked rice

First, simmer the whole ponce in water for about 45 minutes.  Use a the smallest pot possible so that the ponce is submerged.

Heat oil in a cast iron or other heavy pot.  Brown the ponce on all sides.  Poke a few holes in the ponce so some of the juices can flow out and contribute to the gravy.  Add a small amount of the water used to simmer the ponce and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Repeat this step 3-4 times to develop a dark, rich gravy.  Add the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic and saute until very tender.  Add stock to come up about halfway on the ponce.  Season with salt, pepper, and Tony's to taste.  Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove the ponce to a carving board.  Slice into rounds, removing any butcher's twine.  Spoon the gravy over cooked rice and place the sliced ponce over the top.

Linking this week with:

Jam Hands  Hearth and Soul blog hop at Premeditated Leftovers Feeding Big
Love Bakes Good Cakes
nap-time creations
Back for Seconds
White Lights on Wednesdays
Recipe Box
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Photobucket BWS tips button
Freedom Fridays
Foodie Friends Friday


  1. Hi Michelle~ Call me weird then too:) This is exactly the type of dish I would like to eat if I was visiting Louisiana! The kind of food you eat in Louisiana, not the fancy stuff you order at a restaurant! I bet it tastes really good with an ice cold beer:) Lynn

    1. Thanks, Lynn. I like a gal who isn't afraid to go native!

  2. Hi Michelle,
    The Chinese eat most every part of the pig too, including the ears, which are very crunchy and delicious! I love pig stomach, we sometimes boil it in soups with lots of white pepper and preserved mustard, this is one of my favourite soup!
    The stuffed stomach looks so good, I can understand why there are no leftovers! :)

    1. Hi, Joyce. I'm interested in those ears...!

  3. I grew up on a farm and we raised hogs, so I'm very familiar with using it all. Pickled pigs feet and pig tails the whole nine yards.
    Thanks for sharing with us at In and out of the Kitchen Link Up Party

  4. I think I would try this, although I still refuse to try Menudo (it's made with beef stomach). The fact that it is smoked helps and you're right -- it isn't much different than sausage. When my grandparents had hogs butchered they would give the head to a lady they knew and she would make tamales - yummy! They split the tamales half-n-half with her. Great memories.

  5. Anonymous3/05/2013

    That looks delicious! I bet The Boy loved it. Any way you can bring one down next time y'all visit? -GIII

    1. I think you would really like it. The boucherie too. Will email you later.

  6. Better you than me! I can't eat a dish if I saw how it got there! ;) Thanks for linking up!

  7. Michelle, ponce seems to be a bit like haggis - which I think uses sheep stomach. I have to admit to being a bit shy of offal - but I have put into my schedule to do an offal Food on Friday s0 maybe I'll get over it. Hope life is treating you well. Cheers

  8. Being kosher, we don't eat pig so I am not going to deal with this. From what I read, bacon is a loss but I am managing just fine.

    Thanks for all this info.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. A little gross but I have to have respect for seeing the meat go from the actual animal into sausage! Much better than buying it pre-processed and full of weird ingredients.

  11. Michelle, I will not be showing this to my husband! It will be wanting to do this! LOL! He has already been hunting wild hogs lately but has not been successful! My family is more of the redneck Miss folk, where as my husband's family is more of the cajun folk. I remember hog slaughter's when I was little but not like this! Thanks so much for sharing! and I will show it to my husband, he'll find it interesting!

  12. Ok Michelle, because you tasted it and are still here, then I would sure give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing this special post with Full Plate Thursday and enjoy your weekend.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  13. I grew up on a farm and can still remember the winter we couldn't afford to have our hog butchered for us, so my (Renaissance man) dad cut it up on the kitchen table -- that was a site for a young child, let me tell ya, but such is farm life. I can't say I would be excited about trying ponce, but I love reading about traditionally prepared foods. Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

  14. I come from a sausage manufacturing family. Love pork and have never had this dish before. Thanks for sharing such a an interesting regional cuisine with us on foodie friday

  15. It's an interesting dish! And from the other comments, it's something that quite a few people enjoy. Thank you for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Please come back next week and join us again!

  16. I confess, I am squeamish, but I enjoyed this post nonetheless! It's wonderful that the tradition of boucheries still continues; if we are gong to eat meat it's good to know that we are eating it nose to tail and that nothing is wasted. I'm not sure I could eat pig stomach, but it does look good the way you have prepared it. Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  17. Now this is a new one for me! I grew up in the country and thought I had tried just about everything, but I have never tried ponce. I so get the concept of using everything that is useable and think that is an honorable goal!

  18. Thank you so much for linking this recipe up at Recipe Sharing Monday! The new link party is up and I'd love to see you back. Have a great week. :)


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