For the January-February 2013 Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Carol, one of our talented non-blogging members and Jenni, one of our talented bloggers who writes The Gingered Whisk, have challenged us to make homemade sausage and/or cured, dried meats in celebration of the release of the book Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn! We were given two months for this challenge and the opportunity to make delicious Salumi in our own kitchens!
Even though I had two months, I did not manage to get completely ready on time, and also unfortunately I do not have photos this time… I made some photos of the process, but due to some stupid mistake, I deleted them before I posted them here (or in the DK Forum), pity. Anyway, I decided to make pancetta, cause the whole sausage making process seemed to me something for which you really need the tools, which I don’t own. And I love pancetta, so, there’s a good reason!
I bought only 800grams of speck (fresh pork belly, skin on, although I don’t know why, next time, I’ll buy it without it, easier to roll, and I guess easier to use after it is ready. Mine is still on, and I foresee cutting problems), since, we are only two in our household, but this turned out to be a little too little, since, rolling the meat was not easy like this. I dry cured it first for 5 days in the fridge, in salt, pepper, juniper berries, fennel samen, some brown sugar, garlic, bay leaves and thyme sprigs. This already smelled fantastic. And here too, I thought: why keep on the skin, I mean, there are no spices getting through anyway? Maybe my mistake, next time I will definitely cut of the skin.
After these 5 days, I carefully washed of the spices and dried the meat. I peppered it again, and rolled it and then left it to hang.
and that’s what it still does: hang. It smells great already, like real pancetta. I think it might almost be done, I plan to take it of this weekend. The only worry, I have are small white spots on the outside. I guess that maybe salt right? I do hope so. it does look like salt.
Anyway, looking forward to use it, for instance in pasta carbonara hmmmmm.
one slight problem: I started lent last wednesday, which this time for me means: I will not eat meat. I will have to make an exception for pancetta!
update, it lost almost 300 grams, which is amazing. It smells like real pancetta, can’t wait to cut it: