Posts posted by Recoil Rob
I cut my teeth on Pepin's Technique & Methode , and Lavernne Practique by Anne Willan, great references for adapting recipes.
For the entire old school recipe I second Masterpieces of French Cuisine (Amunategui) and there's also Entertaining in the French Style by Roger Vergere sp?
Quite interesting, I Googled it (actually syneresis) and it's the same process by which whey comes out of yogurt.
I may have to try that some day, thanks.
FYI, in "Charcuterie" it's stated that one cup of Morton's Kosher weighs almost 8 ounces,whereas one cup of diamond Crystal weighs 4.8 ounces, hence the importance of weighing your salt when used for preservation.
Back in the early 1980's a friend threw a pig roast at his family farm in the Catskill Mountains of NY. One small pig and about 30 people. My friend was looking to meet women and a party was a good idea. Quite a good time and the word got around so it became an annual event.
5 years later, at the last one, we had 500 people, built a stage and had 3 bands playing all weekend, and I was in charge of cooking 3 150-200lb pigs. I welded up some spits and such. We got our pigs from a local farmer, the came with skin on, heads on, feet on, fat and kidneys still there. Quite a scene. This was the last one because he met the woman he married and didn't want the hassle any longer.
Some years later I threw a smaller party for about 70 people at a friends house in the city of Yonkers, 1/2 mile from the Bronx border. I ordered my pig from the local Karl Ehmer pork store. It cam in the same way as before, whole, skin on, feet and head intact, immaculately clean, all the leaf lard and kidney fat, everything you could want, about 150#'s
It was wrapped in a large sheet of plastic so we sat it up in the front seat of the Toyota Celica, just like a person, and drove it home.
And my point is, if you want to get the benefits of a "whole hog" you need the skin, feet, head, fat, everything, and cut it yourself. Can be done at home with a little research. And though I haven't tried them recently, Karl Ehmer was very helpful and may still provide a whole carcass from their farm and processing plant in NY.
I memory serves me one of Tom Colicchio's all time favorite Top Chef recipes was Dales rack of lamb cooked in duck fat from the finale of season 3.
I actually did clarify it with egg whites first but then I decided I wanted it reduced more, moving towards a demi glace. After the further reduction some more solids precipoitated out of the liquid and i wanted them strained out.
I ended up using a coffee filter and it took about 30 minutes for the cup of liquid to drain through. In the end I had to help along by twisting the filter like a pastry bag.
I got the results I wanted but thought there must be an easier way.
I've tried to strain reduced stocks with paper towel, coffee filters, Jaques Pepin recommmended a paper napkin. They all bog down and the flow just stops dead. Cheese cloth is not fine enough for small particles.
What do you use?
When Saveur did it's Pesto article I tried their procedure with a mortar, best pesto I ever made. It took about a hour though and since that day I've used a blender.
I'm a bird hunter, primarily pheasants which are known to have tough legs with a lots of tendons. So much so, most hunters just take the breast meat.
A few years back I tried to confit some of the leg/thigh pieces, I used a couple of the D'Artagnan containers of duck fat mixed in with rendered pork fat. I was pleased with the results. The meat was nutty and falling off the bone, a bit bland and gray, but made some nice dinners and rilletes
Two years ago I saved about 20 leg/thigh joints and bought my duck fat from Hudson Valley Fois Gras.
I live within a couple hundred miles so I was able to get a 7.5lb. tub, about 1 gal., of rendered duck fat UPS'd to me overnight for about $35.00. The confit turned out better, perhaps a little salty and one dimensional. I used the method from Polcyn & Ruhlman's "Charcuterie". I kept it covered in the fat for about 5 month in the back of the fridge after drawing off the clear juices from the bottom. We ate it gradually, sometimes by itself, a few pieces in cassoulet, some rillets.
After it was all eaten I strained the fat back into the tub and put it in the deep freeze.
Last week it was time to confit last years kill, approximately 12 lbs of pheasant legs/ thighs, close to 35 pieces.
This time I used a little more spice, lots of garlic and bay leaf. I also added almost 2 tsps. of pink salt which "Charcuterie" recommended if planning to keep the confit longer than a month.
I let it cure a full 48 hours then rinsed, patted dry and packed into a stainless container.
I melted last years fat which already had some flavor in it and was just enough to cover the legs. I placed it in an electric oven set on warm, after two hours the temperature of the fat was taken with a laser type thermometer, it was right at 169˚K, perfect temperature for cooking.
Last year I used a different oven that would only go down to 185˚F and the meat separated from the knuckles and crawled up the bone. After 8 hours of "poaching" at 169 I pulled a piece and it was perfect, just the right amount of salty spicy, nutty goodness. We had four pieces for dinner that night over an arugula salad with some crusty bread. Absolutely delicious, the thighs are meaty and it pulls right off the bone like good BBQ. The legs still have those tendons but all the meat just strips out fro between them.
I removed the pink liquid from the bottom, packed the legs back into the SS container and covered all with melted fat, it is now aging in the back of my fridge, should be perfect for the holidays.
The little bit of pink salt did wonders for this batch. Last year, although tasty, the legs were an unappealing gray color. This year the meat stayed pink and much firmer, also due to the longer cure.
I have reduced the pink liquid, and clarified it. In "Charcuterie" Ruhlman & Polcyn say it ca be used in a vinaigrette. I tried that last year but wasn't impressed, any other recommendations for it's use?
I can't recommend Hudson Valley Fois Gras highly enough, quality products at a reasonable cost, and the fat was much more flavorful than the smaller containers. I needed some extra fat to cover my confit, I called and my tub was there the next day.
I butcher my own deer every year, or at least every year I get one. Properly gutted and handled I treat it no different than good beef. I've seen guys drop ff a 125lb deer at the butchers and come back with 10 pounds of steak and 70 pounds of ground meet, just protein. A waste.
I usually take one whole hind quarter and have it custom smoked at Nodines Smokehouse, make a seriously good ham dinner. The other is roasted whole using bacon for a fat covering or I have BBQ'd whole hind quarters. It's an impressive piece of meat and it seems a waste to cut it into thin steaks.
I usually have cut the backstrap area into rack of venison and do it like rack of lamp. Alternately it can be done Florentine style, simply pan roasted and drizzled with EVOO and herbs.
As for the shanks, you can certainly make Osso Deero but I find just a slow braise and they are excellent. The tendons melt down and there's a reason to stay home and cook on a winters day.
BTW, although I have made my own sausage adding nothing but pork fat, most of the neck meat is chunked for chili's or stew, not ground.
The shoulders are boned out ad make some nice small steaks and rolled roasts.
Finally all major bones are browned for stock. Just be sure to degrease.
I'm a bird hunter, primarily pheasants. Most of my fellow pheasant hunters just breast the bird and toss the rest, the wings and legs are very tough.
A few years back I tried to confit some of the leg/thigh pieces, I used a couple of the D'Artagnan containers of duck fat mixed in with rendered pork fat. I was pleased with the results. The meat was nutty and falling off the bone.
Two year ago I saved about 20 leg/thigh joints and bought my duck fat from Hudson Valley Fois Gras.
I live within a couple hundred miles so I was able to get a 7.5lb. tub, about 1 gal., of rendered duck fat UPS'd to me overnight for about $35.00. The confit turned out good, perhaps a little bland to my taste. I used the method from Polcyn & Ruhlman's "Charcuterie". Ikept it coverd in the fat for about 5 month in the back of the fridge after drawing off the clear juices from the bottom.
After it was all gone I strained the fat back into the tub and put it in the deep freeze. Last night it was time to confit last years kill, approximately 12 lbs of pheasant legs/ thighs, close to 35 pieces. This time I used a little more spice and used last years fat. I have some pics to post and will do it in a separate thread.
I can't recommend Hudson Valley Fois Gras highly enough, quality products at a reasonable cost, and the fat was much more flavorful than the smaller containers.
Singe it outside, the burnt hair smell will linger...don't ask me how I know.
New member here, first post.
Back in 1976 I shared a house with a friend in Newport RI. Both Italian guys from Yonkers NY. We regularly got shipments of Italian foods from home and his always contained a few jars of pigs feet in brine, not exactly high cuisine but they sure were good right out of the jar with cold beer.
That was the last time I ate them until two weeks ago. I was taken to Babbo in NYC for my birthday and as my appetizer I order the Pig's Foot Milanese. Decadent and wonderful. It seems they bone it out, pound it thin, bread and fry it. It's served with bean and an arugula salad base. Just great, I'm going back in a few weeks for seconds.
Best Cookbooks for Beginners
in Cookbooks & References
It's true that in this age of the internet one can Google a dish and get 100 good recipes so I'm of the opinion beginners should get books primarily focusing on technique and apply it to the recipes gleaned from the internet.
The ones that started me off 30 years ago were both Pepin books, LA TECHNIQUE & LA METHODE, Anne Willan's LA VARENNE PRACTIQUE and Bugliali's CLASSIC TECHNIQUES OF ITALIAN COOKING.
All these books are technique heavy with recipe variations and will start you off with a good foundation upon which you can adapt all those recipes on the web. They have many pictures, especially the Pepin Books.
These are still the books I turn to when attempting something new.