Sunday, 17 April 2011


I’ve been looking at ways of preserving meat, and curing seems like a simple method that anyone could do at home. A simple thing to start with is duck prosciutto, as long as one has acquired the distinctive taste for duck. I decided to flavour the duck with bay leaves, Szechwan peppers and marjoram. Really simple, but strong flavours to counteract that of the duck. So I bought two mallard duck breasts from the butchers, and salted them over night. I rinsed, and patted dry, then added my herbs and spices. I wrapped them up in my mum’s old sari. Really I should have used gauze, but a sari worked well enough. I tied it up in string (actually a clean, never used before shoe lace). I weighted them and labeled them with their weight. I hung them up in the back of my shed, and surrounded them with cardboard boxes to protect them from any creepy crawlies. My brother kindly weighted them every other day until they went down by 30% in weight. This took around a week and a half.

The final outcome was a ducky and I’m pretty sure the sari gave it a perfumed background flavour. It’s pretty bizarre, but it works. The shoe laces were soft enough compared to string, and I think this may have played a part in the evenness of colour in the fleshy side of the duck.

Shoelaces and saris are not ideal, but this just shows how easy it is to do home charcuterie. I’ve read a few blogs, which get really particular about how home charcuterie should be done, but I believe doing it your own way, results in a more personal tasting cure. As long as the concept is understood and care is taken with hygiene, then there is a world of meat waiting to be salted, cured and hung!

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