Since joining our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture from Porter Farms , we've been faced with a weekly influx of vegetables. This blog was formed to deal with remembering what worked and what didn't, and to help others in the same predicament. Hopefully, the forum at Small Kitchen Cooking will become alive with members!
Again, from Rulhman and Polcyn's book Charcuterie.
Oh, how I wish I had documented the whole process. I didn't feel like taking photos during it, as my phone probably isn't too sanitary (well, it probably is, I think...), and I would just have to keep washing my hands. Yes, a lame excuse!
The look of the beast, from the inside of the bag.
It's been 7 days curing in the fridge. Time to enter Stage 2. First step, rinse off that cure! Cold water running, salts and spices pouring off.... ok, not pouring. It took a good amount of rubbing to get the stuff off.
Obverse: (note the slice in the fat. Hopefully this doesn't cause problems!)
Next step, to roll it up, and hang. The rolling requires a nice tight roll. I rolled as tight as I possibly could. I think one mistake was rolling up the thicker part first. There was a slight difference between sides. Worried about some air getting in there. The meat side was coated liberally with cracked black pepper.
I am not the best person at tying, but I did my best.
And.....into the fridge it goes! With some salted water to provide humidity, and some salmon that's curing (which now needs to be moved to the main fridge, as the salmon requires a colder temperature). Here's it will stay for about 2 weeks. The temp of the fridge is getting too cold at it's lowest setting. Turned off, it's about 63. So, I'll have to regulate that daily (or more). See ya'll soon for the finale.
It's nothing special, but I think it'll do the trick! A compact fridge, dedicated to curing meats. After one day, on it's lowest setting, with a bowl of salted water to provide humidity, I think it's a pretty positive sign!
Ideally, for my Pancetta, I'm looking for 50-60 degrees, with about 60% humidity. With a few tweaks, I should be there!
Thanks to the butcher at Palmers, I was able to secure a beautiful pork belly, which he cut up into a nice 5.34 lb slab for me.
I trimmed this puppy up, so he was nice and square, and would fit into a large Ziploc (style) bag. The extra parts went into the freezer, for use in sausage later on.
So far, so good! On to the spices for the rub! I won't go exactly into it all, as I hate to replicate a recipe on a webpage, but the key ingredient needed is salt, and Pink Salt, which has nitrites added to it. This is called Insta Cure #1, and was purchased from The Sausage Maker, out of Buffalo, NY.
Oh, and instead of dark brown sugar, I substituted Maple Sugar, since I had it on hand and it seemed like a natural fit! I also went very light in terms of nutmeg, since I had already arrived at way more than a teaspoon which should have weighed in at 4 grams, and my scale still read 0 grams. I decided enough was enough.
The cure, all (semi) beautifully arranged:
Next step, coat the pork belly thoroughly, and put that baby into the bag! Which I did. It's now sitting in the fridge until next week. To be turned and having the cure redistributed every other day.
And off we go! On to the next interesting thing to try. Right out of my latest gift book Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn is Duck Prosciutto. Apparently very easy looking. Of course...it is easy!
Not to replicate the recipe here, I'll basically show this in photo stages.
The end result should be in about 7 days, or when my duck has lost about 30% of it's weight (which I'm assuming is hanging weight, not starting weight before the duck breast got bathed in a mound of kosher salt).
I've actually used two duck breasts. The first, I didn't cover completely in salt, then panicked and cut in in two, and re-packed. I'm thinking that this is going to be over-salted, so...I bought another duck breast.
Packed it into Salt:
And waited 24 hours. What you see here is Duck Breast #2. The others are already hanging.
Out of the salt, you can already see the deep red color that's developed.
Ok, so the pictures could have been better.
*Edit: Forgot to add that I dusted the two smaller ones in white pepper, and the larger one in a white pepper, paprika combo before wrapping!
Next is to wrap in cheesecloth, tie, and weigh. Since I'm determining the 30% weight loss while it's wrapped, I think that I need to do the initial weigh-in while it's wrapped. 1 lb 3/8 (463 grams, which is what I'm really using as a weight.
And finally, here they are! Hanging away in the cool breezeway, with a special water-soaked Sham-Wow hanging along the wall. That's my humidity test/provider. I figure if the Sham-Wow dries out fast, then it's too dry. Either way, it's providing some moisture. I think.
According to Michael Ruhlman's blog, the temperature and humidity don't factor too much into the Duck Prosciutto, as it has such a short aging time.
So, here they are hanging away. Hopefully ready for tasting next week!