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.
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.....