Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dry-Cured Duck Salami

Like I have said so many times before I am addicted to Duck. Even more so when it's cured. I have several posts on various cured duck creations and it's not going to stop anytime soon. I might have to create a page just for my duck recipes. This is my new creation. Dry cured Duck with Apricots. This recipe was inspired from something I saw/read on UMAI drybag website. UMAI made a Salame out of Ducks and Pork fat using Figs and Gentleman's Jack. Of course I don't eat pork so I used 100% Duck. I want to emphasise my ultimate goal which is to take what is traditional treif Charcuterie and produce Kosher alternatives using of course Kosher meat.  

The adorable picture in the upper left corner of your screen is none other than the Pekin Duck. The Pekin Duck are wonderful for this application. A Muscovy Duck Breast has about 18% fat, the Pekin duck breast has about 29% and the Moulard is a cross between the Muscovy and the Pekin. For the Salami I needed lots of fat so Pekin was the right choice for this recipe.

By the way if the picture of the duck above bothers you too bad. I've been criticized in the past for posting pictures of what we eat but that's a personal choice I make. Most people don't know what their food looks like or where it comes from. So with my blogs I am hoping to share a little bit of insight and hopefully know how. I am not on a crusade or anything but I think we should respect the process.

I purchased my fresh duck breasts online. I have had great luck with D'Artagnan which is an online company that sells a variety of meat. They have great customer service with 100% guarantee. These ducks are perfect and are large! I actually have 12 breast for this recipe which is just an ounce above 7 lbs or exactly 3177 grams. This is a straightforward recipe that should tantalize your culinary taste buds. As you can tell from the ingredients list they are unique or at least I think so.

Link for Dry Cure Notes

One of the things that you will find interesting about this recipe is the unique ingredients I used. I used Grains of Paradise instead of Black Pepper which I use almost exclusively for my pastrami. I love Garam Masala which is a blend of spices which include cloves and cinnamon and other goodies. It's common in North Indian and South Asian cuisines. And last but not least I used Demerara sugar which is a unique brown sugar. Using an electric spice mill I combine the Juniper berries, White pepper, grains of paradise and Demerara sugar and ground them up. The Demerara sugar has the texture of kosher salt and I wanted the grains to be smaller.

The following steps are straightforward....well at least I believe so. Before you think about grinding everything up you need to think about temp and size of the meat. First thing I did was to cut the meat into two inch pieces. My grinder is a big bite Lem #32 and can handle just about anything. I kept the meat temperature below the danger zone (below 40) but much closer to freezing to prevent smearing when grinding. Duck fat melts almost at room temp. Grinding at near frozen temps makes for an easy grind. I used a 3/8 diameter plate for this sausage. Fermentation goes faster with a larger grind. With my monster grinder it took me all of 45 seconds to grind 7 lbs of duck. Do I need such a big grinder? No but is bigger is always better. Having a monster size grinder I am able to process meat quickly which means less time at room temp. I have used many grinders over the years and once you go big you don't go back. 

Looking at the video does not give this grinder justice. I couldn't shove it in fast enough. It just ate everything I tossed in it. 

I soaked the chopped up apricots in Apricot brandy for about an hour. I then tossed them in the grinder with the brandy. So tasty!!!! 

I pre-measured all the ingredients including Prague powder #2 using Milligram scales or this Milligram scale. These scales are not expensive either so pick one up. I tossed the larger spices and sugar into a spice grinder to get them uniformed in size. 

I tossed all the spices into the meat mixture and using very thick gloves I combined the ground up duck by hand. I made sure the meat temp was below 40 degrees (more like 35 degrees). I wanted to keep it out of the danger zone. Even though I was using gloves the cold meat hurt my hands.  

I have a meat mixer attachment that could have done the mixing but anything less than 10 lbs is relatively easy to do. After everything was mixed I added the culture and mixed thoroughly. 

I used my Sausage Maker Stuffer  as my stuffing apparatus. It's a great inexpensive little stuffer that gets the job done. I have had mine for about 16 yrs. It can hold 15 lbs of meat.

Now on to the bags. Since I do not have a traditional curing chamber I am once again using a UMAI dry bag for my Charcuterie. 

This is what they look like after 3 days of fermenting. What's funny about my this particular batch was the conditions. 

I have my Air conditioner on just blasting the house with cold air (55 F) which is not great for fermenting. I had to place the duck in my bonus room with a heater and a bowl of water to keep humidity high. Obviously it worked out. 

I rotate them every day. Each Salami is marked 1-5 so I can assess weight loss. The Salami's need to lose 30%-40%. 
Project start date July 22, 2014. 
I am not sure what % of weight I want the Duck to lose. As the Duck approaches these numbers I will evaluate them.

Update-Sept 10- Here is an updated picture of the Salami.Looks pretty good. I weigh the duck at least once a day now. We are at about 36% loss.

Sep 23, 2014....The Duck is finally done. The Duck came out great!! The texture was slightly softer but I was expecting this because I was using 100% duck fat. Duck fat melts at room temp so this must be refrigerated at all times. The flavors were great and nothing stood out but that is what I was going for. I did however expect more apricot flavor to come through but I did not notice it at all. Overall a great Salami!!!!

Gratuitous photos below.....

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lamb Medallion Bacon

I'm just fascinated with Charcuterie and if the meat is Kosher I am going to try and Cure it into something exquisite. Like I said in earlier posts I am attempting to Kosherize all traditional Charcuterie which is normally made from Treif. In fact I need to come up with a new word to describe what I am about Koshcuterie? That being said I know what Treif taste like. About 15 years ago I stopped eating it and never looked back. And it's not because it tasted bad either....Oy Vey..Au Contraire; it was and is delicious. I just chose a different path in life which is why I love my Koshcuterie Nirvana quest.....there I used my made up word. I have a huge appreciation for all Charcuterie Treif or not.

A while back I was watching the food-network and they were talking about Pineapple and Canadian Bacon Pizza and it struck me. Canadian bacon is nothing more than a Pork Loin cured. Why not Lamb loin cured? I might even try a New York Loin down the road too. 
I contacted my favorite organic online supplier and started on my quest to make Canadian style Lamb Bacon. Don't be fooled by this picture these Loin babies are small. They weigh about 294 grams or 10.5 ounces each. Granted these loins are Australian which are smaller then the US Domestic ones and of course I was expecting small ones. I think next time I will seek out domestic US home grown Loins.

This is a really simple recipe. Measure out the salt and cure and apply to meat. Grind peppercorns in pepper mill. Measure out the rest of ingredients and mix them in bowl until combined. Rub the meat down and place in bag. Place bag in refrigerator and cure for one week turning bag over everyday. The Lamb is small and thin so a week is plenty long for cure to penetrate the meat. After a week rinse it off and cook it up.

This came out great!!! I will make this again but will chose a domestic breed to get a bigger Loin!!!! Maybe I will try this with a Beef Tenderloin. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

MultiCultural Salami


Three pictures that show what beauty there is in least yours truly thinks so. Ponder this for a moment, you combine simple ingredients I.E. meats, herbs and spices and create a masterpiece. You start out with a blank canvas and discover something special and new. What was an idea now becomes a reality and the manifestation of a Salami is born. I have been playing around with the idea of making my own Salami for some time now but have not been inspired until recently. Determined to a make a Salami and making one that was unique I decided I wanted something BIG too....Go big or go home I say. Big is certainly different. Experimenting with unusual ingredients is a lot of fun and every once in a while you make something interesting and great hence my salami is born. I present you with my Multi-Cultural Salami. Maybe I should explain why I chose this name for my Salami. The list of ingredients are multicultural, some are from North India and some are Middle Eastern thus the name.  
Dry Cure notes
This is very simple to make. I chose these meats for their flavor and fat content. As you can see I needed extra fat so I chose hard beef white fat. The other ingredients are also unique. The Grains of Paradise have citrus notes and a pungent peppery flavor. While the Demera Sugar has some molasses in it. Garam Masala is an amazing North Indian and Sumac is a tangy Middle East/Turkish spice. The mustard seeds I chose are both common (Yellow) and unique (Brown). Very different in flavor and hard to describe. The brown version is used in North African cuisine. 

Note: I used Cure # 1 to preserve color and as a preservative. I also used Sodium Phosphate to help with the yield and with its ability for allow proteins to hold on to more water. More water greater yield and moisture.  

OK enough with the spice tutorial lets move on to the Salami. 

Cut the meat and fat into 2-3 inch pieces ( this works well with my monster grinder) and partially freeze. Run meat through grinder twice. I used a 1/2 plate followed by a 1/4 inch plate.

The above video shows what a 1/2 inch grind looks like. The picture to the left shows the second grind through a 1/4 inch plate. From my experience if you're going to use a 1/4 inch plate or smaller you should always grind first through a larger plate.  

I placed the meat in mixer with all the spices with the exception of cure and phosphates and I let it rip for about 6 minutes. My meat mixer attaches to my grinder and it will hold 25 pounds of meat which makes this endeavor easy. I then took out a hunk and fried it up and tasted it to possibly adjust for taste and salt content. It was perfect. I then added the cure and phosphate and finished the mixing adding a little crushed ice to keep temp down below 40 degrees.

I prepared my high barrier casings which are huge. They are 4 3/4 inches in diameter and will hold 8 lbs. I used hog rings to secure. I wanted to make sure they could withstand the pressure of the meat being forced into them and remain airtight when I submerge them in water. I plan on using my Sous-Vide to cook these monsters. I am using my polyscience Sous-Vide app to calculate time. I am going to cook them at 161 degrees for 5:53 minutes which will bring the internal temp up to 155 F. 

 I used my Sausage stuffer which holds 15 lbs of meat to stuff these monster salamis. After I stuffed my Salamis I let them rest in a refrigerator for 24 hours to cure. 

Lets recap. Cut meat up, partially freeze and grind. Add spices and mix, stuff into prepared casings and hold for 24 hours. Sous-Vide until an internal temp of 155 F is reached. Submerge Salami in huge ice bath until temp falls rapidly to 38 degrees. Getting temp below 40 quickly takes meat out of the danger zone. 
ALL DONE and it's wonderful. I won't change a thing.