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jmolinari

Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 5)

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What a great stack of information! Thanks for tracking it down. The point about stronger casings really makes sense to me; the "cleaner" ones I've gotten at Whole Foods have broken more often than the Butcher Packer ones I've had.

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Could someone do me a huge favor? I'm in France without my book, and I need to make a fish terrine for next week. The shrimp terrine with salmon inlay would be perfect. I've made it before, way back on page 62 of this thread, and I'd love to be able to make it again and amaze the French. Does anyone have a spare 15 minutes to type up and PM me the recipe? A free dinner in France awaits whoever is kind enough to help me out!


Edited by Abra (log)

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Could someone do me a huge favor?  I'm in France without my book, and I need to make a fish terrine for next week.  The shrimp terrine with salmon inlay would be perfect.  I've made it before, way back on page 62 of this thread, and I'd love to be able to maike it again and amaze the French.  Does anyone have a spare 15 minutes to type up and PM me the recipe?  A free dinner in France awaits whoever is kind enough to help me out!

I'd be happy to do it. Got the book in front of me right now.

Edited to add: Done. PM sent to Abra.


Edited by Stuckey (log)

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Holy smokes, a winner in only 17 minutes! An American recipe sent by someone in Australia to someone in France in a quarter of an hour. Totally awesome.

And now that Stuckey has done me this really nice favor, if you haven't yet made this terrine do yourself a favor and try it. It's gorgeous, easy, and perfect for warm weather.

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HI all,

I have been absent from this thread for a long time (maybe two years almost), and have only caught up to page 23, but still, I figured that I'd let everyone know what I'm up to.

Today I started a guanciale after having received my order of juniper berries. I'm using a modified version of the pancetta recipe in Charcuterie. Instead of the full amount of brown sugar, I used part brown sugar and part dextrose.

Over the next month I'll be working on the following, also from the book:

-Drohman's pork belly confit, which I made once before, and which was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life

-smoked maple bacon

-saucisson sec

I have also made the bacon before, which was excellent, but have yet to delve into the world of dry-cured sausages. I just purchased some beef middles from Butcher Packer for the saucisson.

I'll post some updates, and maybe some photos, once I have finished the first item.

Best,

Alan

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Since we're on the topic of bacon ... I've got a couple of batches curing in the fridge right now and have been curious about Ruhlman's recipe. Can anyone tell me why he instructs that the bacon be roasted off immediately after curing, prior to packaging?  Seems counterintuitive to me - with other meats I'd never dream of cooking something twice, and commercially available bacons are all raw. The first couple of batches I've made have been maple cured and I've just sauteed slices as needed or put them straight in the freezer after curing ... Can anyone explain the rationale for roasting the large piece?

BTW, my smallish NY apartment (a 6th floor walkup) isn't very accomodating of smoking equipment so we're talking fresh bacon here.

Since no answers to my above question here, I asked Ruhlman directly ... indeed, he says no real reason other than tradition (bacon was traditionally hot smoked) and he copped to having some raw bacon in his own freezer ...

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Having just trimmed my belly into one 5 lb bacon piece, and into enough pieces for Drohman's pork belly confit--now in the cure--I find myself with extra belly. Since I am in the process of curing some guanciale at the moment I didn't feel like also doing pancetta, so I decided to cut off the fat and cube up the meat and fat for a sausage, which I have done once before with delicious, though not light, results. I am leaning towards the mexican-style chorizo which is quite different than the Bayless recipe that I have used before. However, I started thinking about the spicing, and I'm on the verge of doing a "mole-spiced" chorizo by adding cocoa powder (or shaved 100% chocolate), some raisins, even shelled pumpkin seeds, and adjusting the spicing slightly. Has anyone experimented with chocolate or cocoa powder in their sausages? I am so intrigued by the idea that I might not be able to talk myself out of it.

Any prior experience would be appreciated. I have only made it up to page 30 of this thread and don't think I'll be able to cover the other half in one evening. :wink:

Also, I was thinking of doing a canned chipotle in adobo instead of the dried powder. I thought that it might add a bit more juiciness to the sausage. Any thoughts on that are welcome too.

Best,

Alan

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I've used mole sauce (homemade) in sausage and thought it was delicious. I'd be careful to crack or grind pumpkin seeds, though, if you decide to use them, to avoid having the points pierce the casing.

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First post and all here. Looking forward to participating.

Just made my first ever batch of sausages using the basic recipe from "the book" and it went pretty darn well. My butcher recommended pork neck and I've no complaints.

I did read somewhere that you can keep the spare casings in the fridge and they'll last well but can't track down the details. Can anyone fill me in?

Cheers,

Graeme

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Also, I was thinking of doing a canned chipotle in adobo instead of the dried powder.  I thought that it might add a bit more juiciness to the sausage.  Any thoughts on that are welcome too.

Agreed on the other points -- and adding chopped chipotle in adobo works very nicely, I found.

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First post and all here. Looking forward to participating.

Just made my first ever batch of sausages using the basic recipe from "the book" and it went pretty darn well. My butcher recommended pork neck and I've no complaints.

I did read somewhere that you can keep the spare casings in the fridge and they'll last well but can't track down the details.  Can anyone fill me in?

Cheers,

Graeme

My butcher recommended keeping the spare casings in the fridge with a lot of salt (enough to cover) and a bit of water. I'm new at this but so far it seems to work. They're in the fridge for three weeks now and look and smell all-right. I just take what I need and rinse them well before using.

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Likewise, I found a small tub of hog casings packed in salt at a local grocery shop (lucky find!). I've been using them for over a year, and they are still fine. I just make sure to add a bit of salt to keep them covered when needed.

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Abra, Chris,

Thanks. I changed the book's recipe for Mexican Chorizo in this way:

Added:

1 oz of 100% chocolate

1/4 t toasted coriander

fried raisins

2/3 cup thin mole sauce that I had left over

1 toasted and powdered mulato chile, and 1 toasted and powdered ancho (instead of powder)

extra garlic (4 cloves in all)

Subbed:

toasted cumin for raw

apple cider vinegar for red wine vinegar

canned chipotle in adobo for the powder

The results are outstanding. I've made chorizo a couple of times from Bayless' recipe, and I like it a lot, but I like this one better. The flavor is more subtle and complex due to the lighter acidification of the mixture than in commercial versions or in Bayless'. This might be less authentic, but I like it better. Also--and this is important to me since I am buying excellent quality meat at a premium--the flavor of the pork really comes through well. Part of this might also be the relatively high percentage of fat since I'm using belly.

Things I would change in the next version:

more chocolate

more spice (perhaps spicier paprika or leaving in the seeds of all the chiles)

maybe another chipotle

Serving suggestions:

Tonight I used it loose with some onion, garlic, tomato and chiles all sauteed and then eaten on homemade tortillas with homemade salsa picante and pickled onions. Amazing.

Tomorrow I'll be slow-roasting some and then crisping the casing, slicing it up and eating it on some fresh tortillas with some fresh vegetables. I know that chorizo is not eaten like this traditionally, but this is one of the reasons that this recipe appeals to me. I like the idea of a Mexican-style chorizo that doesn't need to be crumbled--one that could be eaten on a sandwich, or sliced up. If it works out, I'll try and get a good photo of it.

Changing subjects...

I've had some salt-packed casings for quite a bit over a year--approaching two--and they are just fine. I think that I read on Butcher Packer that they can last up to about two years, but I would bet that they could last longer if stored properly.

Best,

Alan

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Alan's creative thinking got me wondering about my bacon. I often sauté bacon with onions and so on when I'm making beans (which I do a lot), and it got me thinking about a cure using some Mexican ingredients. So I've got about 6 lbs curing now with Ruhlman's basic cure mix and 1 T each of New Mexico chile and ancho chile powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and black pepper, plus a tsp of cinnamon and a few cloves of garlic crushed. I also have a garlic, black pepper, and rosemary cure on another slab.

I'm sold on the vacuum-sealed curing now, btw; I do it that way every time.

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Alan's creative thinking got me wondering about my bacon. I often sauté bacon with onions and so on when I'm making beans (which I do a lot), and it got me thinking about a cure using some Mexican ingredients. So I've got about 6 lbs curing now with Ruhlman's basic cure mix and 1 T each of New Mexico chile and ancho chile powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and black pepper, plus a tsp of cinnamon and a few cloves of garlic crushed. I also have a garlic, black pepper, and rosemary cure on another slab.

I'm sold on the vacuum-sealed curing now, btw; I do it that way every time.

Chris,

That bacon sounds great!

By the way, what is your reasoning for liking the vacuum-sealed curing better? I'm curing my guanciale that way, and my reasoning was that it would help keep any released liquid--including all of the spices and other aromatic components--in better contact with the meat. Are there other reasons to go the vacuum route in your estimation?

Alan

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I think that I have said this before, but after having just made Jim Drohman's Pork Belly Confit again, I have to say that this is one of the best things that I have ever eaten, pork or otherwise. I don't think that the term "pork crack" is strong enough. For those of you who haven't tried this recipe, but who love pork belly, please do yourself a favor and put it on your "to do" list. Absolutely phenomenal.

By the way, it calls for 24-36 hours of curing prior to the cooking, and I have done 24 hours both times, and find it to be perfect.

Alan

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I think that I have said this before, but after having just made Jim Drohman's Pork Belly Confit again, I have to say that this is one of the best things that I have ever eaten, pork or otherwise.  I don't think that the term "pork crack" is strong enough.  For those of you who haven't tried this recipe, but who love pork belly, please do yourself a favor and put it on your "to do" list.  Absolutely phenomenal.

By the way, it calls for 24-36 hours of curing prior to the cooking, and I have done 24 hours both times, and find it to be perfect. 

Alan

Alan - point me to the recipe!

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I think that I have said this before, but after having just made Jim Drohman's Pork Belly Confit again, I have to say that this is one of the best things that I have ever eaten, pork or otherwise.  I don't think that the term "pork crack" is strong enough.  For those of you who haven't tried this recipe, but who love pork belly, please do yourself a favor and put it on your "to do" list.  Absolutely phenomenal.

By the way, it calls for 24-36 hours of curing prior to the cooking, and I have done 24 hours both times, and find it to be perfect. 

Alan

Alan - point me to the recipe!

Kerry,

It is on page 264 of the first edition of Charcuterie.

Edited to add:

I had the finished confit deep fried, as recommended in the book, with crusty baguette, French mustard, pickled red onions, a side of asparagus tips, and a nice red wine. It's hard to convey my level of happiness with the meal.

Alan


Edited by A Patric (log)

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By the way, what is your reasoning for liking the vacuum-sealed curing better?  I'm curing my guanciale that way, and my reasoning was that it would help keep any released liquid--including all of the spices and other aromatic components--in better contact with the meat.  Are there other reasons to go the vacuum route in your estimation?

That's the big reason. In addition, with relatively small fridge, it's a good way to have, oh, 30 pounds of bacon and pancetta curing at once. You can move the packets around, distribute the cure, etc. without taking up too much space.

OK, without taking up all the space.

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Anybody know where to get DC Curing Salt #2 in Seattle?

You should be able to get it at Emerald Market Supply on 1st Ave S a couple blocks south of Safeco Field. They seem to be amused by selling to individuals in small quantities instead of their larger accounts. I think I paid two dollars for a couple pound bag. They were keen on me paying cash so as not to have to figure out how to document the sale.

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I think that I have said this before, but after having just made Jim Drohman's Pork Belly Confit again, I have to say that this is one of the best things that I have ever eaten, pork or otherwise.  I don't think that the term "pork crack" is strong enough.  For those of you who haven't tried this recipe, but who love pork belly, please do yourself a favor and put it on your "to do" list.  Absolutely phenomenal.

By the way, it calls for 24-36 hours of curing prior to the cooking, and I have done 24 hours both times, and find it to be perfect. 

Alan

I feel like I am turning into "the voice of dissent" around here... I didn't care for this confit: it was much too sweet for my tastes. Something about that combination of spices... Then again, as anyone who knows me will attest, I really have very limited tolerance for sweet things, so YMMV (and obviously does :laugh: ). I personally would have preferred just a salt and black pepper seasoning, I think.

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I feel like I am turning into "the voice of dissent" around here... I didn't care for this confit: it was much too sweet for my tastes. Something about that combination of spices... Then again, as anyone who knows me will attest, I really have very limited tolerance for sweet things, so YMMV (and obviously does  :laugh: ). I personally would have preferred just a salt and black pepper seasoning, I think.

It's okay if you feel that way, but please do let us know.

My lovely wife is the 'sweets' person, and I am not.

Now, judging from the input of you both, I will definitely have to check this one out, and go easier on the 'sweets' if possible.

Thanks guys, for always providing insights. :cool:

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I think that I have said this before, but after having just made Jim Drohman's Pork Belly Confit again, I have to say that this is one of the best things that I have ever eaten, pork or otherwise.  I don't think that the term "pork crack" is strong enough.  For those of you who haven't tried this recipe, but who love pork belly, please do yourself a favor and put it on your "to do" list.  Absolutely phenomenal.

By the way, it calls for 24-36 hours of curing prior to the cooking, and I have done 24 hours both times, and find it to be perfect. 

Alan

I feel like I am turning into "the voice of dissent" around here... I didn't care for this confit: it was much too sweet for my tastes. Something about that combination of spices... Then again, as anyone who knows me will attest, I really have very limited tolerance for sweet things, so YMMV (and obviously does :laugh: ). I personally would have preferred just a salt and black pepper seasoning, I think.

For those of you who haven't tried it yet, it is true that Ruhlman calls the seasoning a "sweet-spice" mix, but despite this, the recipe actually has no sugar or other sweetener added to it. There is certainly a lack of pungent flavorings that probably tend to let the natural character, sweetness if you will, of the pork stand out. It may be for this reason that I find the flavor to be such a beautiful thing.

Alan


Edited by A Patric (log)

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Hello all...first post on this awesome thread. I've read it all and want to thank everyone for all the incredible information.

A question...I currently have some pancetta hanging in my drying room. I recently added humidifiers(after some so-so duck proscuittos and breasola due to too much outer drying) and am maintaining an average 61% humidity. In the past I have had great results drying pancetta without humidity control(about ten batches) and now, as one would expect, with more humidity it is taking waaaay longer to dry. So the question is, am I gaining anything by the extended dry time (texture or flavor development, etc.) or is it just extending my wait for pancetta. Should I pull the plug on the humidifier for pancetta or be more patient. Thanks for any and all input.

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