Preserved Lemons

Preserving Lemons

Last month’s Charcutepalooza challenge was the salt cure, specifically fresh bacon and pancetta from Charcuterie – The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing. The one salt cure recipe in the book that I had yet to try was Lemon Confit. This is essentially just lemons that are preserved in salt for 1-3 months. The inspiration for this was a blog post by Michael Ruhlman, the author of the above mentioned book.

So prepared with a one quart jar, 9 freshly scrubbed and halved lemons and a kilogram of kosher salt, I now have a spot in our pantry committed to a 3 month lemon curing adventure.

What are preserved lemons for you ask?

They are a staple of Moroccan cooking and are used in a number of traditional dishes such as tagines. They are also used in Cambodian cooking for a chicken soup called Ngav ngum. They can also be used in vinaigrettes and almost any dish that combines lemon and salt.

Hopefully my first attempt and lemon confit works well and I will be able to share the recipes I use them in. Stay tuned for the beginning of June for the results.

Charcuterie Challenge #2

Pancetta and Fresh Bacon

The second challenge for Charcutepalooza was issued on January 15th and I am really behind the eight ball on this one. I need to complete the curing and have an article and recipe for one of the two meats by February 15th and I have only finished the fresh bacon. The pancetta will need two weeks to cure and so will be past the deadline. To make the timing a little more difficult, we are heading to Mexico for a week and so will only have one day once we are back to do the post.

Anyhow…we bought an 11 pound pork belly and brought it home last week.

Pork Belly Skin Removed

Removed the skin and cut the belly in half and cured two ways. One a basic salt cure and the other a traditional italian cure both again from Michael Ruhlman’s book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing.

The Pancetta Half

Both the pancetta and bacon cured in the fridge for a week until the pork belly was nice and firm and then removed.

Fresh Bacon Out of the Oven

The bacon was roasted in the oven under low heat until it reached a temperature of 150º F, removed from the oven to cool and then sliced and frozen.

Fresh Frozen Bacon

The pancetta was rolled tightly, tied and then hung in my new home curing chamber for 2 weeks at 60º F and a humidity of 60%.

Rolled Pancetta

The bacon tastes great and I am looking forward to trying it in a recipe to be determined. The pancetta looks really good but we will see in 14 days.

Pancetta Curing in the New Chamber

Charcutepalooza – The Year of Meat

In previous posts I have mentioned my goal to make real pickle-brined pea meal bacon. This charcuterie itch obviously is spreading quickly because not a week later I received a birthday gift that included the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman as well as all of the ingredients for making duck prosciutto from my sister and brother-in-law. They also gave themselves the same gift.

My new bible

 

In the card there was a link to two food blogs, Mrs. Wheelbarrow and The Yummy Mummy, which have jointly created Charcutepalooza – The Year of Meat. (Twitter hashtag #charcutepalooza) The object being to learn, in a community, the art of charcuterie by undertaking one charcuterie challenge a month for the entire year. The first challenge is duck prosciutto, of course! 

The duck breasts are now thawing and we will keep you posted as we progress.