Showing posts with label charcuterie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charcuterie. Show all posts

Friday, January 24, 2014

Spicy Mexican Braised Pig Snouts

NOSE to tail

i suppose you are only here if you are TRULY into nose to tail eating...OR if this purely fascinates or disgusts you.
maybe just a LOOKY-LOO ?

BUT think of it this way...


we need to think out of the box...away from the "chop"
i know here in So California there isn't a lot of enthusiasm, but
i'm trying to do my part...
piece by piece


i'm pretty good with "odd-bits", but this was a doozy.
i hate to say it, but the pre-boil stinks.  ooo boy, it's bad.  i mean it smells like a "pig sty"
not to worry...only the pre-boil smells.  it will go away.
it's always important to do a "pre-boil".
this is a skinny-dip in boiling water for 10-15 minutes.  since these are some odd bits, maybe someone did not take care of them as they would a prized tenderloin, so you need to pre-boil to remove any impurities, contaminates and what-nots...
cover your bits with water and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes.  remove from pot and toss the water.  clean your pot and start fresh.
ALSO...if there are any hairs that might have been missed, you can shave those off with a cheap razor or singe them off, as i do, with a brulee torch.

photo before going in oven

2-3 snouts
3/4-1 lb. of pork shoulder cut into large pieces
1-2 large white onion, sliced thick
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 small can chipotle in adobo sauce.
approx. 2 cups of homemade stock...i used turkey/chicken
cumin, coriander, mexican oregano, chili powder, pepper corns, fresh ground pepper and salt
liberally sprinkle your seasonings all over and inside the cavity of the snout and meat....
NOTE...there are no exact measurements here, just use your judgement.
pre-boil the snouts as mentioned above.
add thick sliced onions to the bottom of dutch oven.  i always use cast iron enamel.  stuff the inside of the snout with the chunks of pork shoulder.  arrange snouts as you wish.  i did it this way so the main part of the snout would not be submerged in the stock.  stick your crushed garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and chipotle peppers and adobo sauce evenly throughout.  i used about 1/2 a can...the broth was SPICY!

put in a 320 oven for the first hour.  take it out and check it.  lower heat to 300 F for another hour.  at this point i used a baster to remove some of the stock/juices.  (save this extra broth, you might need to add some back in.)  i wanted a braise, NOT a boil.  the onions will release a lot of juice.  you want the top part of your goodies showing so they will get a nice brown, golden roasty look (as shown below).
baste a few times when you do your peeking.   ALSO, make sure there is still some liquid in the bottom.  i think for the last hour i left the lid "ajar".  put back in the oven for approximately 1 more hour, but check it again in 1/2 hour.  baste again.  they should be very fork tender, but not falling apart and disintegrating.
NOTE...if you really are interested and would like a little more info, please leave a comment with your questions.

this is what it looks like after approx.  3 hours.

straight out of the oven these are quite delicious.
melt in your mouth fatty gelatinous skin with a fine layer of meat  and chunks of "confit-style" pork shoulder cooked inside the fatty nose.  it's very hard to describe, but definitely a nose-to-tailers delight.

cut into bite size pieces and sear in a hot skillet
a little chopped white onion and cilantro
a squeeze of fresh lime with some pickled jalapeno.
wrap in a fresh corn tortilla

when in DOUBT...

i had no idea what on earth i was gonna do with 3 huge pig snouts.  there's no way anyone in this house would join me and as you can see they do not shrink much in the cooking.  i ended up making 2 small "Terrine de Snout" (gave one away) and froze a whole snout in the spicy viscous broth for future use.  if serving cold, your terrine might need more salt.  cold terrines usually need extra flavor.  do a taste test.  remember to put the tip of the snout down first if you want the shock value presentation shown in photos.
keep the shoulder meat tucked into the snout cavity and press the larger pieces of extra snout in and around the main piece.  pour a little broth into the terrine and press down to eliminate overflow.  put something flat over the top and weight it down.  i use a brick covered in tinfoil and a baggie.  put this in the fridge until it is set.  serve cold in thin slices with charcuterie OR cut off what you want and sear in a pan (it will break apart, but who cares?).  add to noodles, make tacos,  add to soup, fry it up and make snout chicharones?


Friday, March 8, 2013

Country Pate with Gluten and Dairy Free Panade




one of the most satisfying foods i love/hate to make.  every time i make it, i curse at myself for the time and detail i go into and how i can make this one even better than the last one, BUT when it's time to unveil and i get that first perfect slice.  OR hear someone say, "did you really make this?"  oh, there's nothing like it....
pure satisfaction of the beautiful specimen set in front of me...and "I" made it.

i must say, when it comes right down to it, there is no exact your Mom's meatloaf probably doesn't have an exact recipe...she just knows how to throw it together and it always comes out right.  every pate is just a little bit different, but the general ingredients and instructions tend to stay the same.

for this pate i will give you my measurements that fit perfectly in a "Pullman's"loaf tin.  these measurements are not set in stone.  you can work them a little bit to suit your taste.  as for the size?  you want to properly fill one loaf tin and if you have a little left over? what.   make little patties and enjoy right away because you will be waiting for the pate for a few days.

fits in 9"x4"x4" pullman's loaf tin.

879g pork shoulder, cut into i-2 inch pieces (3 to 3.25 lb.)
232g ground pork (1/2lb.)
62g raw chicken liver trimmed (2 1/4 oz)
50g shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp quatre epices (recipe below)
1 lrg. tsp dried rosemary, crushed or chopped fine
approx 1/8-1/4 cup minced parsley

ADD-INS...5 cooked, sauteed chicken livers chopped into small pieces
1/3-1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2-3 oz of smoked ham steak cut into long thick slices

2 EGGS, slightly beaten

CAUL FAT or BACON SLICES for the exterior
i have done the bacon wrap many times and it makes for a great presentation, although the bacon does not crisp...just to let you know.  Bacon wrapped Pate shown HERE
BUT...this time i found "caul fat" and had so much fun.  it was a bit difficult hunting it down, but when i finally got to work with it i fell in love with it's weirdness.  i like the presentation and flavor better than the bacon...can you believe i just said "better than bacon"?

put the pork shoulder, the ground pork and the raw liver in a bowl.  take 2/3 and process it in a food processor until chunky.  remove from processor and put in the other 1/3 mixture.  process this a little more than the first batch.  mix the two batches of meat with the shallot, garlic, salt, quatre epices and dried rosemary.
saute your chicken livers and set aside.  when cool give them a little chop and set aside.
in separate bowl, mix together your gluten free panade.
now mix the panade into the meat.
add in the cooked chopped chicken liver and minced parsley.
now comes the IMPORTANT part...TASTE TEST.  cook a small amount in a skillet and check for seasoning.  pates need a little extra salt so if the test is "well" seasoned your good to go.

preheat the oven to 325F.  place a few bay leaves on the bottom of a slightly buttered loaf tin or pate mold of choice.  line the bottom and sides with caul fat or bacon slices or you can just use heavy plastic wrap.   make sure you have enough over-hang to cover the top.
note...put some water on the stove to heat for a bain marie.
pack the mixture into your desired vessel.  put the meat in, pressing down so there are no air pockets.  don't forget to put the long thin slices of ham and the pistachios intermittently throughout the pate mixture...don't over do it.  you just want it to be seen.  smooth the top and tap it on the counter to solidify and get rid of air pockets.  cover top with "over-hang" of caul fat, bacon or plastic wrap.  put a small piece of parchment on the top and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
place the pate loaf tin/dish into a larger heatproof baking dish and add enough hot water to come 1/2 way up the sides of the pate. put in preheated 325F oven for approx. 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until the pate reaches an internal temperature of 160F degrees.  juices should be clear.
remove from oven and water bath.  let rest for about 30 minutes, then place some weights on top.  i keep a tinfoil covered brick on hand or 2 heavy cans of something will work with a flat piece of aluminum covered cardboard to fit on top of the meat.  when it is room temp. place in fridge (with weights) overnight or another day is even better.  the weights can come off after a few hours when the pate is good and cold and set.

serve room temperature or chilled with baguette, cornichons and dijon.
OR my favorite...slice and sear in skillet to add to a burger, serve with a poached egg for a decadent brunch or make Pate Paninis with melted brie and sliced pear or apple...YUM !

1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground ginger.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spicy Sweet Savory Pickled Cherries




i don't know how i got this idea that i HAD to make pickled cherries. i just wanted a way to enjoy all these beautiful cherries all year long.  i googled around and found a few recipes, but the vinegar thing was throwing my off.  i knew if i tweaked the recipes a bit i would have to give it a try.  i had no idea how these would turn out, but it was an unbelievable surprise when i opened the first jar...

upon first bite i was a little wary...WHAM! the vinegar wakes up your taste buds...then the spice slaps you upside...the rosemary kicks in and you're left with this amazing flavor sensation that leaves you wanting more.  one of those flavor sensations that makes you wonder...
"why haven't i tried anything like this before?"...

they ARE weird......weird in the best way.

i've only served them with cheese and crackers. creamy savory cheese calms the sweet heat and pairs well with the tart tangy vinegar.  maybe prosciutto, salami, or pate de campagne?...
any charcuterie platter would be proud to have these as an addition.
there are so many other possibilities. one friend put them in a salad and another chopped them and put them in black rice with a nice glazed salmon.
so far i find myself eating them right outta the jar.

these are a must try.  canning isn't necessary.
like i said, i was hoping to have cherries for the winter, but these aren't gonna last until then.
follow recipe, let them cool, then refrigerate and wait for a few days before opening...if you can wait that long.

many thanks to Tom at Tall Clover Farm
for his "how-to"s and a great starting point.
this recipe made 4 pint jars and 3 half-pint jars with a few left over.

3 pounds of firm sweet cherries...i used 1 lb. Rainer and 2 lbs. Bing
for the brine...
2 cups white wine vinegar
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp peppercorns
2 tsp red pepper flakes...1 tsp will be okay for the normal heat seekers.
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3-4 whole cloves
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
5 smashed cardamom pods
1/2 vanilla pod split open
extra stuff for the jars... can stuff them with these extra goodies if you want.  you need to make sure these things have been boiled for a short time in the strained brine if you are canning...C-note at bottom
6 - 8 chili arbol...or long thin dried chili
6 nice rosemary sprigs
3 vanilla pods, split and halved to make 6 pieces
a few cardamom pods if you want.

wash can choose to leave stems (trimmed to 1/2 inch) and pits in or remove stems and pits...i tried both and found the pitted were obviously easier to eat, and they also filled the jars a little better.  the non-pitted ones, however are cuter in the jar and a little more attractive and rustic for a nice charcuterie platter.
in a heavy bottom sauce pan add all brine ingredients.  heat on a low simmer for 5-10 minutes.  things should be getting very fragrant.  turn off heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
meanwhile, fill STERILIZED JARS with cherries.  fit as many as you can without squishing them too much.  leave 1 inch head space.  also put a few extra items like rosemary, chili arbol, vanilla pod, in down the side of the jar....NOTE...i am not sure about food safety on these additions if they have not been you could just evenly distribute the ones that steeped in the syrup.
strain syrup with cheesecloth.  save the rosemary sprigs, cardamom pods and vanilla for the jars.
bring the temperature back up to hot.
pour syrup into jars over cherries leaving 1/2 inch head space. careful.  DO NOT pour hot liquid into cold jars.
screw on sterilized lid.
process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.
OR...screw on lids, let come to room temperature and refrigerate.

try to wait 2-3 days before trying. they pack quite a spicy wallop, but seem to mellow out a little on the heat factor after a week or so.

NOTE AT THE BOTTOM...i am not a canning expert.  please take care in canning properly for food safety.  here is a good place to start if you are new to canning or a little unsure.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Easy Hock Terrine

what to do with big beautiful UGLY ham hock...?

break it down, tear it apart, smash it in to a loaf tin...

call it charcuterie !...

hi peoples...
sorry, "writers block"... apropos.  a block for a block.

maybe that's why i have 23 drafts with photos and recipes waiting for some fabulous intelligent description...hmmm...intelligent just ain't gonna happen.

SO...this is a "WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET" kind of post.
hence, this is more of an idea rather than a recipe.

while shopping at one of my favorite Asian markets, H Mart, i came across a beautiful fresh already cooked ham hock...displayed much like a supermarket might display it's fresh roasted chickens. it was still warm and pliable so i snatched the best looking one up and brought it home.  with a fridge over flowing with food ready to eat i thought what am i gonna do with this big hunk o' hock ?!

i know...i'll make a terrine.


of course you can cook your own ham hock and do the same thing, but that takes hours....and ingredients.

ham hocks, much like trotters (aka pig feet) have a lot of good sticky collagen.  this is what makes for good glue in a terrine.  no gelatin needed.

all of the following should be done with a warm pliable cooked enough to touch and work with.
remove the skin in one piece, if possible.  this makes a nice outer layer and helps hold everything together.  tear apart the meat and tendons.  remove any bones and cartilage.  chunks can be large, but better long and thin instead of fat chunks.  add a little hot water (broth if you have some) maybe start with 1/2 cup to get some of the juices flowing.  SEASONING IS KEY...taste your filling.  maybe add some chopped scallions, chinese five spice, garlic or onion powder, cumin?...salt and pepper!  terrines are something that need extra flavor.
find a vessel that will work well.  i use a small loaf pan.  spray the inside lightly then line with plastic wrap.  leave over hang on all sides.  cut the skin in strips and layer the bottom.  then start packing the goods in...evenly dispersing the meat, fat, tendons and odd bits and pieces.  everything must go in so that it will hold together, but you can discard any unwanted dark ugly veins.
pour what juices you have left over the top and let it sink in.cover with hang over plastic wrap and press down hard with something flat that fits the top of the meat.  you don't want any air pockets.  place in fridge with a weights on top.  your terrine should be ready in a few hours. have made a terrine.
pretty enough for any charcuterie platter.
serve chilled, sliced thin.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kalamata Fig and Shallot BACON Jam

BACON JAM...i know you've seen it.  you say, "so what?!"

i'll tell you what...IT'S DELICIOUS.  that's what!

i love it so much that it has become a staple in our house...a guaranteed little jar of sweet bacony goo will be in the fridge at all times.  it goes with just about EVERYTHING!

i have made Spicy Chipotle Bacon Jam a couple of times and the newest combo with dried apricots and Garam Masal...not posted yet...but this version with dried Kalamata (light skin) figs seems to be a crowd favorite.
something about the snappy little fig seeds and the sticky spreadable texture.

serve with a nice tangy goat cheese on a seeded baguette and you've got a fabulous appetizer.
how about a waffle with maple syrup and a fried egg?
a huge spoonful on a grilled burger with Havarti cheese?
peanut butter, bacon jam and a bagel?....

the jars will disappear before you know it and you'll soon make this a staple in your fridge as well.  it's pretty darn easy, it makes the house smell delicious and you'll be a smash at the next dinner party if you bring a jar of this go on...give it a try.


1 1/2 lbs sliced smoked bacon, cooked NOT CRISPY.
i prefer to do this in the oven on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with tin foil.  reserve 1-2 Tbsp fat for recipe and the rest for something else Bacon Fat cookies perhaps.
1 medium onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
7 oz. dried Kalamata figs, diced (remove hard stem)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brewed coffee, i like strong
1/2 rounded tsp to 1 tsp garam masala(depending on strength)
1/2 tsp Mexican dried chili powder, optional
1/8 - 1/4 tsp smoked salt

cook the bacon in the oven or a saute pan, until it is browned and most of the fat is rendered.  reserve 1-2 Tbsp and try to get some of the yummy scrapings.
cook onions and shallot in a saute pan with bacon fat until translucent.
add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, coffee, garam masala.  bring to a boil and scrape up the bacon bits off the bottom if you have used that pan to cook the bacon.  not too long...just until sugar has dissolved and everything is incorporated.
add bacon (that has been cut or torn into 1 inch pieces) and diced apricots...stir to combine.

transfer this mixture to a 5-6 qt. slow cooker and cook on HIGH, UNCOVERED for about 3 1/2 - 4 hours, until liquid is syrupy.

transfer to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped...or to desired consistency.  fill sterilized jars, let cool open to room temp, cover jars tight and refrigerate.

this should keep in the fridge for at least 4 weeks.  i have been known to open a fresh jar 5 weeks later and i'm not dead a matter of fact i'm working on one right now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Queso de Puerco...Pig's Head Cheese

sounds a lot better than the translation...HEAD CHEESE

but wait...don't go...come back...
all this talk about nose to tail eating, waste not want not, being green and can't tell me you're gonna shy away from a little head cheese.
come the adventurous foodie that you think you's delicious!

i know the picture is a little alarming...
but you DO have to get over the shock factor that it IS all ingredients from a pig's head.  part by part it can be a little daunting...maybe disturbing for first timers, but nowhere near as disturbing as  tackling the whole head.
authentic Queso de Puerco is made from the WHOLE pig's head boiled and broken down...
I COULDN'T DO IT.  i'm not there steps...besides it's a well known fact that a whole pig's head would not be allowed into this house.  i've snuck ears, tails and trotters in before, but i think the head with a face...eyes and teeth might just sign my walking papers.
SO...i had a better idea...
i simply bought all the parts.  a few ears, a couple of snouts, some trotters and a Pozole meat mixture (grab bag) which includes tongue, cheek, ears, lips, and various other bits of fatty meats that work well for this thing called head cheese.  i'll bet you didn't know that delicious authentic Pozole you love so much from your favorite Mexican restaurant actually had all those parts in it.  well, consider yourself christened.  
now come on...try the Queso de Puerco

this is nothing like the head cheese you're afraid of.  if you consider yourself an adventurous foodie this is a fabulous challenge to take "head on".
when presenting it to unsuspecting guests and those less adventurous, slip a few slices onto your next meat/charcuterie it a fancy "terrine"  or "Pate de Tete" if you have to..., but this one really is good ol' head cheese with some spicy Mexican flavors will surely be the conversation at the table.

the left overs...i'm sure there will be some...make a delicious sandwich...or sear a slice or two in a hot skillet.  it renders into crispy little unctuous fatty bits that are delicious on top of a cold crisp salad.

QUESO de PUERCO...or HEAD CHEESE with Mexican flavors

things like this always change in flavors, size and depends on what parts of the pig you can get your hands on...AND are you willing to handle the said parts?... 
this is what i started with....

2-3 full pig ears
2 full trotters, sliced in half by the butcher
2 lbs. (or a little less) of Pozole mix...various pieces of pig including tongue, cheek, ear, snout, butt.
2 pig snouts...i found cooked, roasted snouts at the hot food area in my favorite Mexican market..Northgate, Santa Ana, CA
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 big Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp cayenne, optional
8-10 peppercorns
 1 large onion, quartered
3-4 bay leaves
6 smashed garlic cloves
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper

before you begin to cook, you need to take care of a couple things...
#1  you must look for any stray hairs that have made it past the first cut, so to speak.  check the ears, snout and trotters.  i find the easiest way is to burn them off with a lighter or even better, and more fun, use a kitchen torch...yes the one you use for creme brulee.
#2  i like to boil a big pot of water, big enough to hold everything and put all the meat in and boil the parts for about 5 minutes.  then remove, discard the water and clean the pot before using for the actual cooking.  this will take care of any lurking exterior impurities.

now...i could go on and on and get really involved with instructions, but really it "boils" down to this...

all meats, veggies, herbs and spices into a pot big enough to hold it all.  cover with water,  water should just cover meats throughout the cooking process.
bring it to a boil, then to a nice simmer.  cook until all is fork tender.  approximately 3-4 hours.

again...trying to keep it simple...
remove meat and let cool to the touch.  remove bones, large fat and any unwanted parts...NO don't toss it all...that was a joke!
strain broth through cheesecloth.  taste broth.  it should taste quite over seasoned, so add more salt and spice if necessary.
pack meats into a large loaf pan lined with Saran wrap.  i like it well packed.  pour warm broth over and weigh some sort of lid down on top so as to press everything together packed tightly.  you will be pressing out most of the liquid so do this in the sink.  the more packed it is...the less gelatinous your block of head cheese will be.
refrigerate for a few hours.  it's ready when it is solid.

slice and enjoy with pride.
now you are a true nose to tail-er
or...snout to

PS...if you truly want to attempt this and need more instruction, i would be more than happy to answer any questions.
here are a few other terrines i have posted about that pretty much use the same method.
once you have made one terrine you can make anything into a terrine.
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