Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Rebbe's Ham

The Rebbe’s Ham

The title is not a mistake but an oxymoron to capture a point. My Ham is metaphorical in nature in that I am not describing the anatomy of an animal but using the word colloquially. The word ham is used here to describe preserved meat that replicates the texture, taste and appearance of Swine Ham. With that, I think a Rebbe would be happy to eat my Duck Ham.

I happen to love Duck and decided after I made Duck Prosciutto   and other duck concoctions that a Ham would be great. So what to do? I know that flavor is important and I wanted to mimic the flavors of real Ham. I decided to go with some traditional flavors that I believe would work well with duck. I have seen plenty of Ham recipes that claim to taste like honey or maple so I decided to use flavors that I think could replicate the flavors of real Ham. 

I purchased my fresh Magret duck breast 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!!!

This is a  straightforward recipe that should rock your culinary taste buds. As you can tell from the ingredients list they are unique or at least I think so. I am using Demerara Sugar which is unrefined, golden brown and with hints of natural molasses flavor.  Herbs de Provence is a common ingredient in most French cuisines.  

Of course no recipe of this magnitude would be complete without alcohol.  I used Crown Royal Maple whiskey and gave the duck breast a 24 hours soak.

My instructions are hopefully easy to understand. First measure out all ingredients and place in separate bowls. Using a spice grinder grind up the pepper and cloves. Place duck in container large enough to hold them. Combine salt and cure together and thoroughly rub into meat getting it into every nook and cranny. 

Now combine ground up mixture with remaining ingredients and rub into duck breast. 
Again getting the rub into all the nooks and cranny's. Vacuum seal breasts and all residual spice mixture.   

I am using the equilibrium salt cure technique instead of the excess salt cure version. Using this technique avoids over salting. Equilibrium curing is the Sous-Vide of curing a coined phase by Jason Molinari. With a 12 day cure I am confident the cure will reach the center of the Duck Breast. 

After the curing process of about 12 days I am going to use Transglutaminase Activa RM to bind the meat together. I want the Duck to look more like a cylinder and to hold its shape when rolled. the Activa when applied to the Duck will allow it to become one solid muscle. 
Transglutaminase, also called meat glue, is an enzyme that can be used to bind proteins to make uniform portions of fish filet, tenderloins, etc. that cook evenly, look good and reduce waste. Transglutaminase can also be used for creative applications in modernist cuisine such as making shrimp noodles, binding chicken skin to scallops or even making checkerboards with different types of fish.  How can you do such a thing? Simply apply some transglutaminase on each side of the protein to bind, press the sides together and let it rest refrigerated for a few hours. 

After a 10 day cure the duck breast is ready.

The Duck breast was coated with Activa RM to bond the proteins together. It will need 24 hours the process to take place.

The Activa worked. One solid muscle.

Looks great!!! The picture to right shows where the seam is and I must say I am happy with the bonding action of the Activa RM.
Not sure you can tell from the picture but I slathered maple syrup on the duck.

I will cold smoke them for 2-3 hours than hot smoke until 145 degrees is reached internally.

Gratuitous pictures showing my work of art. The extra pictures are of my Duckstrami and Rebbes Ham.

Cooked to an internal temp of 145 degrees

Final thoughts- Just Amazing! Nothing else really to add. The Maple flavors were subtle and sublime.  The Activa Rm really made the Duck hold its shape without twine and in my book is a must for now on. 

Now for the gratuitous photographs.