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Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 3)


snowangel
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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....

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Thanks - Ron - good idea.

Here are some photos before and after cutting.

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.

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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.

gallery_16307_3131_55663.jpg

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.

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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!!

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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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.

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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

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

gallery_16307_2661_7211.jpg

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.

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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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I really don't know, and I was going to ask that here myself. It has a bit of pink salt, but it's already been in the fridge for a week. I'm planning to use it all up and give some away during the coming week. But you know the stuff you can buy commercially is sitting around for far longer than that.

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Ron Kaplan (aka ronnie_suburban) said:

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

Well I have made all of the following:

Goat Haggis

Which used 'beef middles' rather than stomach for the casing, 2 out of 10 of the 'puddings survived the poaching (far too hot) and they would have given a suitable soundtrack for a WWII submarine movie, infact 'Das Boot' came to mind as I listened to them exploding like a string of depth charges! . Goat was used because lamb is rarely found in the supermarkets here, and Haggis was a spur of the moment decision when I found all of the required meat ingredients in the same meat display! Opportunistic heh?

Brisket Bacon

On this I cheat somewhat, by using Hickory Smoke Powder during the curing phase, but the results have been quite successfull so far. Had to use Brisket as there was is no Plate available in Indonesia. Haven't found a simple way of cold smoking in a climate in which the temperature doesn't fall below 28 degrees C!

Corned Beef

Maybe a common item in the States, but here in Indonesia comes in a can! Results excellent, didn't last 24 hours.

Chicken Liver Pate

One of my favourites,so simple and quick to make, and what a wonderful simple breakfast on freshly baked bread.

Pastrami

Followed a Dry Cure recipe from Sausagemaking .org, was cured for 6 weeks! I have to juggle my work schedule with charcuterie! The cured Silverside was given the spice rub and indirectly smoked on a Weber Kettle for 6 hours, unfortunately the family were at the house at the time and only half of the original joint was left by the next day! This was then steamed for 3 hours and was absolutely exquisite.

Rumanian Jewish Beef and Mustard Sausage

Mealy!

Beef and Sun Dried Tomato

Not too bad at all and had some definition, but this was likely due to the fact that mustard flour was included in the ingredients!

Chicken Franks

Tasty but mealy!

Chicken and Portobello Mushroom Mouselline Sausages

Had problems when all of the lamb casings burst during poaching, I was unfortunately distracted by my twin children who were heading off to bed and wanted a kiss goodnight! didn't really think two minutes longer would matter but it did! temperature rose from 80 degrees C to 100 degrees C and the water in the casings turned to steam with predictable results. I had during this run of sausages run out of casings and improvised by using plastic bags which are available locally for making icepops, those turned out perfectly!

Goat with Pinenuts and Dried Apricot

What can I say, but delicious!

Goat with Rosemary and Garlic

Again one of my better sausages, but still haven't figured out what I did differently!

Chicago Style All Beef Franks

Didn't realise that collagen casings couldn't be used for poaching sausages! looked ...... well I won't decribe what it looked like, just use your imagination! but just to help the picture think of a shrivelled, naked old man in a transparent plastic raincoat :blink: however the emulsion didn't break and did in fact set sufficiently for the sausage to be passed of as skinless to my friends who were very impressed with my skills! hadn't the heart to tell them the truth! :biggrin:

Seafood

Nice, a mixture of white fish, squid and shrimps, with lemon grass, garlic and hot red chillies, bound with tapioca flour!

Dill Cured Salmon,

How can you go wrong with this one!

I want to try a Pepperone, and have just recently relegated an old refrigerator to the utility room, but am having difficulty finding a suitable thermostat to control the temperature in the correct range, just need to keep looking for a while longer I guess.

If any of you have any wisdom to share for drying in the tropics I would appreciate your sharing it, the locals dry some types of meat in the sun but I don't know how this would affect salumni or even if it would be at all possible.

I am slowly coming to terms with the lack of ingredients and the climate in Indonesia, more slowly coming to realise that I need to concentrate more but I am learning everyday. :unsure:

What a fantastic hobby!

Best Regards,

Richard

"Don't be shy, just give it a try!"

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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Wow, Richard, that's quite a list! I envy your the easy access to goat, since it's almost impossible to get here. Have you experimented yet making sausages with Indonesian flavors? And you probably can't get pork fat, right? That's usually the key to juicy, as opposed to mealy, sausages.

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Going back to bacon for a second...

Just how much liquid is it supposed to pull out? I am only at the bacon stage of the Charcuterie experience and well, my pork belly has been in the fridge for 11 days. I have been monitoring its progress every couple of days and only a very small amount of liquid has been produced. I felt the belly hasn't sufficiently firmed up by day 7 so I left it in for another few days, but by now the texture hasn't firmed up much more, and still, only a very small amount of liquid is coming off. :blink:

What to do? Scrap this and start over? Use this belly for another application?

Cognito ergo consume - Satchel Pooch, Get Fuzzy

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Going back to bacon for a second...

Just how much liquid is it supposed to pull out?  I am only at the bacon stage of the Charcuterie experience and well, my pork belly has been in the fridge for 11 days.  I have been monitoring its progress every couple of days and only a very small amount of liquid has been produced.  I felt the belly hasn't sufficiently firmed up by day 7 so I left it in for another few days, but by now the texture hasn't firmed up much more, and still, only a very small amount of liquid is coming off.  :blink:

What to do?  Scrap this and start over?  Use this belly for another application?

My experience with bacon is that a dry-cure produces very little moisture whereas a wet-cure (includes maple syrup) produces more. I've also found that even when cured bellies don't feel totally 'firm' they are usually cured through and ready for smoking. Unless the belly you're curing is exceptionally thick, 11 days should be enough. My advice would be to now hot-smoke it to an internal temperature of 150 F and call it a day. Cut a few slices and cook them as you normally would. My guess is that even if it is not perfect, it will be quite delicious.

Whatever you do, do not scrap it without smoking it and cooking some up. At the very least, use this run to gain some experience and help you establish your own personal preferences.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Sartain - I've never had much liquid come out of a pork belly. I think it really depends on the pork, and possibly it's pork that's been injected with water that releases liquids. Definitely don't toss it! I'd go with Ron's advice, for sure.

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Ron and Abra:

Thanks for the reassurance. I'm going to follow Ron's advice and hot smoke it to 150 - just as soon as this incessant rain takes a break! :angry:

Sartain

Cognito ergo consume - Satchel Pooch, Get Fuzzy

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Yum - I love food porno....

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.

gallery_16307_3131_55663.jpg

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.

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Alrighty, folks, the bresaola just came off, having lost 30% in about 2.5 weeks. The texture is nice and the flavor is excellent. Needless to say, I'm excited. Here's the question: my bresaola is bi-colored. Is that OK? If you're looking at a cross section, the outer ring (about half an inch thick) is a deep brown color. The inner circle is a brighter red. There doesn't seem to be a difference in texture/dryness between the two areas.

So, my questions are: is this normal? What causes this? How does one get a uniform color?

Thanks,

Rob

PS - I promise I'll learn how to post images soon!

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Wow, Richard, that's quite a list!  I envy your the easy access to goat, since it's almost impossible to get here.  Have you experimented yet making sausages with Indonesian flavors?  And you probably can't get pork fat, right?  That's usually the key to juicy, as opposed to mealy, sausages.

Hi Abra,

Actually goat is easily obtained in the traditional markets, but the standards of hygiene are sorely lacking there :sad: I do ocassionally buy from there but only if I go myself!

The supermarkets here generally only sell beef or chicken, although in the chinese areas they do occassionally have duck, but not with sufficient flesh for duck prosciutto unfortunately! The chicken is generally jointed for frying and the beef is generally cubed for stews etc. I have had to cultivate a special friendship with the manager of the local supermarket who will indulge the crazy foreigner :blink: and supply me with prime cuts which I butcher at home. I have noticed some changes recently which indicate that more choice is coming onto the market, with goat and lamb sometime available, but at premium prices!

I have experimented with Indonesian spicing as per the Seafood Sausages, which were quite nice, but as a first attempt and working without the benefit of all the lessons in Michael and Brians book found they were a little dry, I think I have learnt from the Chicken and Mushroom Mouselline Sausage how to fix that problem. Other Indonesian flavours are generally produced from extended cooking ala "Beef Rendang" and are not easily reproduced in the short cooking time required for sausages, although I do intend to experiment more, perhaps cooking the forcemeat prior to stuffing.

Regarding the mealy sausages, I have, again since acquiring "Charcuterie", found that if the forcemeat is worked, in my case using a K beater in the food processor for a few minutes, I am able to avoid that problem. I presume due to the more thorough incorporation of the meat proteins which are made water soluble by the addition of the salt, this seems to allow more liquid to be held in the sausage and also seems to prevent the fats from leaching out during the cooking process. I am assuming that some type of protein matrix forms which holds the liquid and fats, similar to an emulsion type sausage. Please anybody who understands the science of sausages correct me if I am wrong, but that is what seems to be happening. I do have to be careful and only use the hard fats with the meat, but it seems to work for beef, lamb and goat. Which is a good job really as originally I was informed that I would only get juicy sausages if I used pork backfat or beef suet!

I don't actually eat pork so the unavailability of pork fat is not really a problem :rolleyes: only a problem to be solved!

The book really has been an inspiration to me, as is all the work being carried out and documented on the forum.

Regards,

Richard

Edited by tristar (log)

"Don't be shy, just give it a try!"

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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Just pulled down and sliced my Lamb Procuitto!!!

Nice and thin slices....

The Norwegians make a dry cured leg of lamb. It's called fenelar. They--yes all of them--are adamant that it must be sliced perpendicular to the way you and I would be inclined to do it. I've had it both ways and can say that they do have a point although it looks a little inelegant, whacking right into the leg that way. They eat it on flatbread with finely chopped red onion and creme fraiche. It's absolutely delicious.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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... my pork belly has been in the fridge for 11 days.  I have been monitoring its progress every couple of days and only a very small amount of liquid has been produced.  I felt the belly hasn't sufficiently firmed up by day 7 so I left it in for another few days, but by now the texture hasn't firmed up much more, and still, only a very small amount of liquid is coming off.  :blink:

What to do?  Scrap this and start over?  Use this belly for another application?

Like knocking the bottom of loaf of bread to determine whether its fully baked, you have to know what the endpoint should be to recognise it.

So, to begin with, its a good idea to start by following the recipe timings exactly, and knocking the bread or poking the bacon - purely to learn what the signals are. Then test the product and make the association with the signal. And adjust the timing the next attempt based on your first result, again trying to learn what the signals actually are, rather than trying to use them for real at this early stage.

I'd guess your bacon might be a bit salty by now - but don't despair!

Rinse it.

Slice a little bit off and fry it. (If your bacon is an inch thick, then slice off half an inch, so that you can find out what the middle (as distinct from the end) is going to be like.)

Taste it.

If its at all too salty (smoking it would tend to dry it, intensifying the saltiness), you need to soak it under plain cold water, in the fridge, to get some of the salt out. Test another slice after 12 hours or so. If you are going to soak it longer, change the water.

My feeling is that a day of soaking in fresh water might take out 2 days-worth of excess curing saltiness.

Once its not excessively salty, hang it to dry in the fridge (and notice how much more it firms up), and then continue with your recipe.

Unless it smells 'off' or looks too dangerous :biggrin: don't give up!

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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