Friday, February 26, 2010

Mangalitsa Salumi part 1

Removed the guanciale and the coppa to be hung today. The guanciale was cured with salt, sugar, black pepper, thyme and juniper. I did about 12 days in the cure, I think it was probably ready at 10 days as it was quite stiff. You can see the size of this gorilla, I hung it in front of two other normal sized guanciali. So, in actuality, this is Mangalitsa guancialone. This will probably dry for the better part of 2 months.

This is the coppa. I cured this with my old standby I use for almost everything. I use it to make fresh sausage, for dry rubs, marinades and more. This is a combination of hot pepper powder Products, along with fennel seeds , salt and cure #2. I use them in the following ratio: 3.5% salt, 1.75% pepper powder, .88% fennel seed, .25% cure #2. I stuffed it in a 90mm collagen casing. Based on how long my Berkshire coppa took to cure, I'm guessing this should take roughly 6 weeks. Part 2 will be the Lardo. This thing is SOOO big, I'm going to let it cure for another couple days. Wait and see.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back on the horse

Here's proof that it doesn't always go the way you want. After making that N'duja with which I was so happy, I committed N'dujacide. Having skipped a starter, I figured I would ferment at a little higher temperature than usual. So, I thought 90 was a good number, I'd fermented other salami at this temperature and it's been fine. Well, I have never made a salami from all jowl meat. I'm not 100% sure, but I'll go out on a limb and say jowl melts at around 90. I woke up and found the temperature in the oven to be 93 degrees. I removed the N'duja from it's container in the oven to find it a sack full of red liquid. After conferring with Larbo, we concluded it was indeed a bag full of hot melted lard and was toast. I hit it with the pricker and got most of the liquid out. I will hang and dry as normal, hopefully I can at least use it in pasta and pizza. So, I bought a couple more pounds of jowl and went right back at it. Same exact thing........3.5lbs. of jowl meat, 1 lb. hot pepper paste half pound of hot pepper powder Products, 3.5% salt and .25% cure #2.......that's it. Ferment for a couple days, cold smoke for a couple days(just got my cold smoke generator), and dry for a couple months. This is being gently fermented at 70 degrees.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mosefund farms Mangalitsa

Had the opportunity this past Sunday to visit Michael Clampffer at Mosefund Farm for a tour of the facilities. After a series of swings and misses, we were finally able to nail it down. Here are the babies. They are held here for some time and subsequently moved to the pen with the larger fellows. This pig on the right is one of the babies that looks to have been born a sheep. He also thought my hand smelled like food, until he tasted it! Didn't stop him from gnawing on it anyway. Here are the bigger guys, napping between meals. They are penned off adjacent to the babies. More of the bigger boys, looking like seals on a San Francisco pier. Here is a picture of what might be the coolest feature(for the pigs)in the facility. The pigs are free to roam the surrounding hills. They are all fenced in and allowed to meander and eat, as Michael told me, whatever isn't nailed down. From there we went inside, where the largest pigs are held. They are fed just wheat, barley and acorns until they are slaughtered. I took a bunch of pictures, however, due to the dust kicked up from the ensuing melee created when Michael tossed a bucket of acorns into the pen, none of them are viable. Michael also showed me his curing chamber. I confess I am quite envious as he has an entire walk in closet full of lovely smelling prosciutti. Ok, so, time for business. Where's my meat? Went to the barn to pull some out of the freezer. When he removed some, I laughed out loud. Absolutely ridiculous stuff. This is stuff you hear about or read about, like Lardo di Colonnata. This looked even better. I got a big piece of shoulder, from which I'll remove a coppa and cure the roughly 2-3" of backfat for lardo. It is still semi-frozen in the picture, I hope you can make out the thickness of the backfat......absurd! I also grabbed a jowl for guanciale, as I find I am a guancialophile. Way too good and huuuuuge to pass on. For a size comparison, I cleaned it up and layed an already cured jowl next to it. This jowl weighs about 1.5lbs. So, you can see it's not like any jowl I've ever seen. I'll post more as I cure these within the next couple days. Thanks Michael for a really cool and interesting experience., and thanks for the delicious lardo!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

La N'Duja Terza

This is my third effort at this now hot as a pistol(literally and figuratively) salame. I think this may be my best effort yet. It was also my quickest. I knocked this out from start to finish in 2 hours. A bunch of research, a couple of emails to Calabrese people, both in this country and in Italy, and I was able to formulate a recipe. I opted not to use any offal. I've never used any, so, that's a variable I was more comfortable leaving out of the equation. I read recipes that included almost everything from the pig you could imagine. One recipe, I believe to be loosely translated to English, simply read "pig face." I'll assume they meant jowl. Others calling for everything in and around the head and face, even skin, which I don't think I'd seen before. Well, Larbo and I discussed it a little bit. He told me his best texture came from using straight belly. That sounded like the best option. But, what sounded even better was the "pig face" option. If belly was good, jowl must be better. It IS softer, more unctuous and fattier. I've seen it used in many recipes. That was what I decided on. This will be the easiest salame to explain in terms of ingredients and ratios. 5lbs. is the max I can do in one batch with the Kitchen Aid mixer. So, always looking to one up Larbo, I went with 30% total weight in peppers. I'll give the ratios in pounds, don't even have to mess with grams for this one. 3.5lbs. jowl, 1lb. hot pepper paste, .5lbs. peperoncino powder. That's it. Well, not quite, I forgot 3.5% salt, .25% cure #2 and about .5% dextrose. I stuffed it in a 4.5" beef bung. This was my first effort using beef bung. I have heard things about their odor. Well, I must have a good batch, as they had no odor to speak of. I rinsed and soaked for about 30 minutes. Stuffed pretty easily and quickly. Trussed it up quickly, here it is. Looks pretty damn good, I think. I'll ferment it for a couple days, while I wait for my cold smoker to arrive. Cold smoke it for about 3-4 hours a day for a week or so. I would love to smoke it with olive branches, for some reason, I'm thinking that's hard to come by. Anyone reading who has olive branches, I'd love to barter for some. For any readers out there who make their own salame, yet have not tried N'duja, you have no excuse! I carry all the pepper products in the store. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010


Terribly sorry for lack of posting. Been trying to get this store up and running. Proper website should be ready to go in a week or two, so I can get rid of the cheeeeezy ebay storefront. I've shipped out a bunch of hot pepper products. So, there better be a bunch of new N'duja posts. Got Larbo to create a monstrosity of a hybrid N'duja/mortadella, or N'dujadella. Which is delicious, BTW. I was supposed to head up to Mosefund farm to get my hands on some Mangalitsa yesterday. But, that fell through, so, we have tentatively rescheduled for this weekend. I have spent the last 2 weeks emailing and calling every importer/distributor/exporter in this country and Italy. Apparently, the wheels move somewhat slowly in Italy. I have been discussing deals for almost 2 weeks. Deals that for the most part could have been finalized in about 2 hours. But, as I was told, people in Italy don't check email like Americans. Which is probably a good thing, I get my email right to my phone, which can be annoying. Anyway, on the agenda..............I have a shipment coming from Milano. This will have Garganelli combs, gnocchi boards, sausage prickers, Mezzaluna knives and ravioli stamps. So, some interesting tools and gadgets. The mezzalune are made by inox bonomi, these are special to me because this is the exact model(I think)that I inherited from my grandmother. It is well over 60 years old and still in use. I have coming by the end of this week(hopefully) some fig vincotto, hot pepper vincotto, pane carasau(flatbread from Sardegna), malloreddus, mullet bottarga(dried roe), wild fennel pollen and some capers from Pantelleria. I am waiting on word from a company in Sardegna about some other pretty obscure ingredients including tuna bottarga and wild Sadinian cardoons under oil. Keep checking back, and if you want something you don't see , please post a comment here or drop an email. When everything gets up and running smoothly I will start carrying more common items like olive oil.(mostly DOP stuff, like Lago di Garda). My third N'duja attempt should be posted this week. This one to be 70% jowl and 30% hot pepper. YIKES!