Showing off? I can do that. I’ve been doing it all year; serving my homemade Charcuterie to all our dinner guests. Well, except for the occasional vegetarian meal. I planned a dinner for eight. It went off without a hitch Saturday December 3, other than it might have been a tad too much food. Everyone left stuffed.
Thanks to Cathy and Kim for putting #Charcutepalooza together. Thanks also to our sponsors D’Artangnan, Trufflepig, Kate Hill & Food52. Big thanks to Michael Ruhlman for his year long support, answering the questions of the masses. Thanks also to Brian Polcyn for his part in the book that inspired all this cured meat making. Finally, thanks to Josh, Howard’s nephew, for the awesome camera and lights that helped me take much better photos.
What a year of meat it’s been. I’ve learned so much this year and will use many of the techniques going forward. At first, I thought dealing with hog casings was kinda gross. That is, until I met my first bung. I now know that it was also my last bung. I know my limits.
If you’re reading this and you’ve never made any Charcuterie, go make some Duck “Proscuitto” it’s super easy and you really don’t need anything specialized to make it. Its just duck breast, salt, cheesecloth and time. Michael Ruhlman’s online recipe is here. A more detailed recipe is at WrightFood. If you don’t have a basement or cool place to hang it, just hang it in your fridge. Weigh it before you hang it and it’s ready when it’s lost 30% of it’s weight. If you don’t have a scale, just wait a week or two and squeeze it. If it’s firm and no longer squishy, it’s ready. It’s buttery delicious and you’re friends and family will rave about it. Go. Cure.
4 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 – 1/2 cup Sopressata cut into small pieces
Oil for frying
Make the choux pastry: heat the butter and water in a heavy saucepan until the butter has melted. Add the flour all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until a ball forms and the mass no longer sticks to the sides, about a minute. This cooks out the flour taste too.
Off the heat, beat in the eggs. You can do this with a mixer or by hand with a whisk. Either way, add the a little at a time to prevent scrambling. Mix in Sopressata.
Fry in hot 375°F oil until brown and cooked through. Small ones for about 3-4 minutes. Break one open to make sure they’re done all the way through. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle while hot with salt.
They may be kept warm in a 200°F oven for a few minutes while you fry up the batch. However, they’re best served right away.
Recipes in: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.