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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 3

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#331 Abra

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 10:22 AM

Ok, all you weird guys, now I really need your help and advice, if I want to serve this stuff tonight, which I'm not sure I do.

Let me backtrack and say that although I did a reasonable job of cleaning up the kitchen before I fell into bed, the morning light revealed a myriad of blood splatters that had been too small to notice last night, under the circumstances. Moving slowly (there's probably a good reason why we don't normally drink Scotch and bourbon at the same time) I methodically wiped down every single surface in the kitchen, especially the floor. I could probably be arrested for the amount of blood on the floor, if kitchen pigicide were a crime here.

Then I went to see if it had all been a bad dream. I fetched the smallest of the sausages from the fridge.

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It looks pretty innocent, except for the revolting string. Bravely, I cut into it.

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On the one hand I'm thinking "nice definition," but on the other I'm thinking about how soft and gooshy it still is. It takes a hot knife to get even a semi-clean slice. I've been thinking to give the slices a quick sear in a little duck fat.

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Oh gag me, it's melting like foie, even with the lightest sear. Now I ask you, would you eat this?

Taking one for the team in a major way, I do eat it. The flavor is still good, not astounding, but good, albeit ever so faintly liverish. But the texture is relatively horrid, soft, melting, just like having a mouth full of blood and fat.

So now what? This is supposed to go on a charcuterie plate tonight, with some pork confit and the pate de campagne I made last week, and haven't cracked open yet. Please, heaven, let that at least be good!

I don't know whether some other cooking method would get the boudin to firm up more, or whether the fact that it was a frozen, coagulated blood product doomed it from the start. Please, give me your thoughts. Can this sausage be saved? Without some major transformation, it isn't going to rise above the level of a science experiment.

#332 Bombdog

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 10:45 AM

Abra
I know NOTHING about this type of sausage...but my first thought was to maybe poach it and then try slicing it. I'm sure the presentation would be better.
Dave Valentin
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"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#333 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 10:49 AM

Abra
I know NOTHING about this type of sausage...but my first thought was to maybe poach it and then try slicing it.  I'm sure the presentation would be better.

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I agree with Dave. My gut says to poach it, even though I have zero experience in this specific area.

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#334 Abra

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 11:07 AM

It's already poached, that was the last step last night. Ruhlman says to warm it by baking in the oven, but what I need is to get it to hold together more, firm up, not just be warm. I suppose that I could poach it again, but I'm worried that if I get it any warmer than I did last night the fat will render out.

Michael, are you here?

#335 snowangel

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 12:06 PM

I'm feeling awful about your experiment, and don't have a clue of any advice to offer. I know you had a big charcuterie event at your house recently. Does anyone have any stuff left in their freezer that they could donate? Where you to live in the Twin Cities, I'd be over in a split second with some other things to help rescue your platter!

Surely there's a Charcuterie hotline somewhere...
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#336 bleudauvergne

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 01:35 PM

Coming from someone who has never actually made boudin noir from scratch but eats it fairly often, yours looks really really good, Abra! It really looks wonderful. I don't slice it up before cooking it - what I do is take the sausage piece like you have there above, pierce it in various places with a fork, toss some fat into a pan (the butcher gives me a piece of fat to go with the sausage) and then and heat the sausage in one link circling around the outside of the pan over medium heat. I slice up some potatoes and apples and place them in the space in the middle, and let them cook slowly with the sausage, covering for aminute or two to let the steam heat the sausage through, and then taking off the lid to let the liquid evaporate. If your heat is too high and your sausage too cold the sausage skin will break, be careful. You can turn the sausage once the one side gets crisp. The apples will melt with time, and flavor the potatoes. Eventually you'll have a nice crisp on the outside and meltingly delicious on the inside sausage and the potatoes will begin to caramelize with the natural sugar of the apples. Don't forget to pierce the sausage and letting it heat to room temp before cooking it will help keep it from breaking while cooking. The fat inside will melt but make it nice and juicy. Hope that helps. :smile:

#337 Bombdog

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 01:38 PM

Coming from someone who has never actually made boudin noir from scratch but eats it fairly often, yours looks really really good, Abra!  It really looks wonderful.  I don't slice it up before cooking it - what I do is take the sausage piece like you have there above, pierce it in various places with a fork, toss some fat into a pan (the butcher gives me a piece of fat to go with the sausage) and then and heat the sausage in one link circling around the outside of the pan over medium heat.  I slice up some potatoes and apples and place them in the space in the middle, and let them cook slowly with the sausage, covering for aminute or two to let the steam heat the sausage through, and then taking off the lid to let the liquid evaporate.  If your heat is too high and your sausage too cold the sausage skin will break, be careful.  You can turn the sausage once the one side gets crisp.  The apples will melt with time, and flavor the potatoes.  Eventually you'll have a nice crisp on the outside and meltingly delicious on the inside sausage and the potatoes will begin to caramelize with the natural sugar of the apples.  Don't forget to pierce the sausage and letting it heat to room temp before cooking it will help keep it from breaking while cooking.  The fat inside will melt but make it nice and juicy.  Hope that helps.    :smile:

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Yeah, what she said. I was thinking that too....

Go for it Abra!
Dave Valentin
Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler
"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#338 Chufi

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 01:45 PM

Abra, that is an awesome experiment.. you are so brave! On seeing the first pic I thought you were making strawberry sausage... :laugh:

I wish I could've been there to help out, not that I have anything constructive to add as far as sausagemaking goes, but I actually like bloody messes!
Must be the butcher's gene that I have (which I is, I guess, also responsible for me being drawn to this thread. One day I hope it will have me make sausages, as well).

#339 Abra

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 01:46 PM

Lucy saves the day! I hope. I'm only taking your word for it that the boudin looks correct, but your word has been good for so many other things, how can it be wrong this time?

I hope those cooking instructions will work for sausage alone, since mine is just meant to be one of three courses. And in my course there's also the pate, and some pork confit that I think I'll do some fried sage leaves for since my sage is going crazy, and then some sugar snap peas sauteed with my guanciale. It's a very rich plate already, and I'm afraid to add the potatoes and apples to it, although I might change my mind in the next couple of hours.

They still might not eat it, but then, they haven't seen those pictures!

#340 dougal

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 03:33 PM

Abra, thank you for the wonderful posts. I trust the husband hasn't noticed the blood on the ceiling... I mean, people have at least seen him, since you took up "sausage-making", haven't they? "Out of town", eh? Hmmm.



:biggrin:

Sadly I've no relevant experience to help you.
Maybe if you fried slices from frozen, you might achieve enough of a crust, quickly enough to hold the stuff together.
I hope it 'comes together' for you.

And, hey, if it tastes good, that has to be the main thing!
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#341 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 03:39 PM

So, I have a botched batch of sausage. I don't know if it broke or has too little fat, but the mouth feel is wrong (mealy).

The main part though, is that the casings are too thick and chewy. Is this a known variation in pigs (I picked up a bag of casings from my local butcher, where I usually buy them), and if so is there something I can do with the rest of the bag?

For this batch, we're going to squeeze all 5 pounds from the casings, look at reseasoning and repaddling, and try to salvage it as patties.

#342 gus_tatory

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 03:39 PM

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Naked Duck

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Food Man--
I cannot believe your crazy-good knife skillz. :smile:
Would you consider doing a pictorial thread on boning a chicken and keeping it intact? I think it's called the "glove method" or something...

Great thread--I just discovered it and am on page 2--can't wait to get to the prosciutto... :biggrin:
"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."
--Isak Dinesen

#343 MelissaH

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 03:57 PM

Abra, thank you for the wonderful posts. I trust the husband hasn't noticed the blood on the ceiling... I mean, people have at least seen him, since you took up "sausage-making", haven't they? "Out of town", eh?  Hmmm. 

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OK, time to cue up the Sweeney Todd soundtrack? (all together now: "Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd....")

:shock: :biggrin:

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#344 snowangel

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 09:58 PM

Abra, thank you for the wonderful posts. I trust the husband hasn't noticed the blood on the ceiling... I mean, people have at least seen him, since you took up "sausage-making", haven't they? "Out of town", eh?  Hmmm. 

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OK, time to cue up the Sweeney Todd soundtrack? (all together now: "Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd....")

:shock: :biggrin:

MelissaH

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Sort of reminds me of that 20 pound brisket I bought, frozen, and thought about an episode of Alfred Hickcock where the lady offed her hubby with some hunk of frozen meat and then cooked it and served the weapon to the investigators.

But, back to the topic at hand. Abra, what did you do and how did it turn out? That has been high drama!
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#345 tristar

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 10:54 PM

Hi Everybody,

Just got posting status and wanted to introduce myself, I have been following this thread for some time and have to say it is for me the most interesting and educational on the forum.

I have been producing my own sausages for about a year and have always been disappointed in some way with the result, maybe too much of a perfectionist! :rolleyes: That all changed when I recently purchased 'Charcuterie', this book has to be a classic! It is not only a collection of recipes and techniques, for me it has been an inspiration, leading me to experiment with different meats and techniques with great success, I am probably one of the few following this thread that doesn't eat pork, but I have found that this doesn't exclude me from the world of charcuterie, following what I have learned in the book I have been able to substitute and improvise and am now enjoying a hobby which prior to reading this book was looking to be somehat restricted!

Thanks Michael and Brian for producing what has to become a major reference in the field and thanks to all on this thread, and others, who have shared their experiences, both good and bad for the benefit of all who are interested in this marvellous aspect of our lives.

I know it has been suggested before, but I think it would be a good idea for people to post their recipes and modifications to the recipe gullet and have a collection of peoples projects as a sticky topic which has links to the recipes.

Thanks to you all.

Best Regards,
Richard
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#346 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 08:54 AM

Welcome tristar! Tell us about some of you favorite charcuterie and your more successful projects.

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#347 mdbasile

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:02 AM

Hey all -- Got a little problem -- have my Pancetta hanging for 1 week now and I have found tiny fuzzy mold at the ends -- seems it just happened in the last couple of days.

I have wiped it with the vinegar/water mixture.

Should I just pull it down and slice those pieces off, or wait a couple of days? The book says 2 weeks hanging, and I am at 1. Or could I just stick it in the fridge for the next week?

All help is appreciated...

#348 mdbasile

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:13 AM

Just pulled down and sliced my Lamb Procuitto!!!

I am very pleased!!

Note the slicer - was in my parents basement - what a find!!!

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Nice and thin slices....

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Edited by mdbasile, 25 June 2006 - 09:16 AM.


#349 mdbasile

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:18 AM

Welcome Tristar!! Nice to have your input here.

#350 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:18 AM

The prosciutto looks beautiful, Mark. Nice score on the slicer, too!

As for the pancetta, I don't know that it will dry suitably in the fridge. I'd probably cut off the moldy spots, to prevent it from spreading (since you can't apply the vinegar solution inside the rolled area) and let it hang another week. You may want to wipe it down with the solution after you removed the moldy spots. Just my .02.

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#351 mdbasile

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:21 AM

I have a sad tale...

I had 1/2 a Nieman pork butt and 1/2 a back fat... left them in the fridge after opening them last week... sort of didn't worry about it... well pulled them out today.... and UGH Rot on the Butt and mold on the back-fat - had to pitch it........

Should have frozen them....

#352 mdbasile

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:48 AM

Thanks - Ron - good idea.

Here are some photos before and after cutting.

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Also here is a photo of my Venison Salami:


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#353 Bombdog

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 10:37 AM

Thanks - Ron - good idea.

Here are some photos before and after cutting.

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That stuff looks great Mark. I think I would have done what Ron said also. It looks like you have a nice tight roll. You should be good if you got the bad part cut off.
Dave Valentin
Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler
"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#354 Abra

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 02:30 PM

Well, I can report that my pate de campagne was really wonderful. The recipe I used was my tweak of a recipe I got from SeaGal, who in turn tweaked the recipe in the book to combine it with a Pepin recipe. It's evolutionary, but tastes exactly traditional.

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It's a really time-consuming process to make it, best spread over two days, and then it's been a week curing in the fridge, but it was all worth it when we cracked it open last night to serve as part of a multi-course extravaganza.

To see the boudin noir on the plate, and a lot of conspicuously excessive comsumption of really good food, click here.

#355 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 02:58 PM

Ooh, Abra! That looks so great. I'd love a slab of it right now with some crusty bread, a few pickles and maybe a schmear of french mustard. Outstanding!!

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#356 Bombdog

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 04:46 PM

Abra, that is food porn at it's finest! Congrats...it looks like it turned out great!
Dave Valentin
Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler
"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#357 ojisan

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 05:23 PM

Well, I can report that my pate de campagne was really wonderful.  The recipe I used was my tweak of a recipe I got from SeaGal, who in turn tweaked the recipe in the book to combine it with a Pepin recipe.  It's evolutionary, but tastes exactly traditional.


It looks wonderful.... What was your final recipe? Procedure? And how/why would you tweak it to make it even better?

Monterey Bay area


#358 thomasevan

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 06:44 PM

That looks divine Abra, and the pancetta is gorgous mbasile. Great work!

#359 Abra

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 06:57 PM

Newsflash! There is a way for my boudin noir to taste divine.

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This is a slice of the sausage I tossed in the fridge last night, after I had sauteed it in duckfat. Like this, cold, on a slightly sweet cracker, with crisp Walla Walla onion and a nibble of sage, it's luscious. I am so relieved - I hated to waste all that blood!

Lovely lamb prosciutto, Mark, and now I have serious slicer envy. Too bad you had to lose that pork, but at least you hadn't already worked on it.

Thanks for panting over my pate, folks. It really is even better than it looks. I'll talk to Seagal about whether she or I should post this recipe. I don't really know whose recipe we're working with now. Let me say that this version had ground pork and veal, as well as backfat, pork liver, and pork confit.

#360 snowangel

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 08:42 PM

Oh, Abra! How wonderful! Success after disaster, and a hand wringer, at that.

Now, a question. For how long and how well will the pate store?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"





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