This month's challenge in Daring Kitchen was "You Say Salami, I say Salumi - Let's Make Sausage!". It was a challenge indeed. Whole idea itself, making homemade salami, sounded daring for me. Although I have to say that, in my life, I made pork sausages before. Many years ago I helped my mom with processing all that meat of pigs my parents were growing then. My mom and dad, after they retired from their engineering jobs, decided to move from Kiev, capital of Ukraine, to a small village, closer to nature, food sources and flowers. Over there, they were growing pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits and so on...Two, three pigs were grown by them at a time. Then pigs were sent to "better world" by my father, honorably serving their purpose of feeding the family. It was a lo-o-o-ot of work with a meat, every part and organ were utilized into food. There is so many things to tell about whole process that it is probably easier to put this information into the statements. I hope it will be interesting for you. So..:
- Whole pig was consumed in a ways described below.
- First of all, meat. Some was given away to friends or neighbors, some was salted, packed in jars and put away into cellar for months. Some was stuffed into sausages, those sausages were baked and packed into ceramic pots, sealed with melted lard and stored in cellar. Some meat was set aside to enjoy right away, "on a spot". This meat was fried in a simplest way, barely salted and it was the best meat ever I tasted in my life. If you never tried freshest meat you might never understand what I am talking about.
- Intestines, stomach, blood, liver, kidney, heart also were used to make sausages, different kind of sausages. Those were real treat too. I remember myself making blood sausages. It's actually interesting technique - liquid blood, mixed with cooked buckwheat, garlic, onion, salt and pepper formed semi-liquid mix which was stuffed into bigger casings (in this case - large intestine). (wow - all this stuff sounds harsh and crazy to me now.. :)
FYI - all intestines (future sausage casings) were scrubbed and thoroughly washed in several waters before being used for sausages.. Interesting that we never were making salami - salami is more, I guess, Italian thing than Ukrainian, hah?
- spleen, testicles, lungs and brains were usually fried and eaten shortly after. I tried all of this and have to tell that spleen and lungs are "so-so" in taste, testicles are awful with its graininess and brains are awesome in its smoothness, flavor, tenderness and richness. Of course this is my personal opinion :)
- inner fat was melted into a lard. Some connective tissues were chopped and melted/fried with fat and formed tasty crunchy particles in a lard. Food, cooked with this lard, such as fried potato, for example, was de-li-ci-ous.
- best parts of outer fat with a skin were salted (skin was previously flamed/torched with burning straw to get rid of tiny hair). These salted blocks of heavenly smelling fat, with a skin on, resemble itself the best Ukrainian ethnic treat - famous "salo". It may sound silly for you but this is really one of a kind treat, if you ever had overcome fear and, may be, disguise, and tried real Ukrainian "salo", you may know what I mean. Unfortunately it is impossible to find authentic "salo" here, in US, even in russian stores. The single realistic place to get real "salo" is farmer's markets in Kiev or, of course, in Ukrainian villages where people still making the real stuff.
- I almost forgot about ears and tails, those were fried to a crisp and .. eaten.. Although I never was a big fan of this stuff.
- Oh, what about tongue? This is one of other delicacies, often stewed/cooked with some vegetables and spices for a long time until it becomes ultra-tender, melting in your mouth.
- All bones, joints with some meat and tissue leftovers were cooked in a small amount of water for hours, with bay leaves, some spices and herbs. Then bones and other inedible pieces were removed, stew was cooled down and this way, "holodetz" or call it jellied meat stew, was created. It is, in fact, another traditional ethnic eastern-European dish, which I still cook up to this days as it is one of my husband's favorites. It was my mom's favorite too, but unfortunately my mom has passed away recently (rest in peace, my dear)...
It seems to me I was carried away way too far. I just hope it was interesting flashbacks from my past. Nowadays, I'm vegetarian (no pity at all) and exploring further into magic world of international foods. So, my choice for the challenge is Shrimp Sausages (semi-vegetarian) and Duck Prosciutto. Here they are!
- 2 raw/fresh duck breasts
- 1.5 cup kosher salt
- 4 tbs dry orange peel (optional)
- 2 pieces of cheese cloth, each one 3'x3' (or any thin cotton fabric)
- Clean duck breasts from connective tissue, wash thoroughly and dry them out very well with paper towel.
- Spread 1/2 cup of salt in a glass container, place duck pieces, skin down on a top of salt.
- Sprinkle duck meat with half of the orange peel, flip over and sprinkle with remaining orange peel. Top with all remaining salt.
- Cover container tightly and place in a fridge for 24 hours.
- Remove duck pieces from container and wash salt nicely out under running water. Dry meat thoroughly with paper towel.
- Wrap each duck breast into several layers of cheese cloth and hang in your fridge for about 2 weeks or so. It helps to weigh breasts before hanging them - during drying process they should lost about 1/3 of their weight. I didn't do that relaying on my intuition (I guess my intuition is just fine - prosciutto come out great!) :)
- When your prosciutto feels harder and drier but still somewhat pliable - it's done! Unwrap, cut with a sharp butcher knife very thingly and enjoy! It's nice with a piece of country bread, some butter and fresh cucumber on a side.
I hung it in my fridge for 2 weeks, tying it around upper rack wire - it worked for me.
White choky mold on the edges is normal for prosciutto.
This is a classic pairing, melon and prosciutto, but I didn't get it, honestly. I like it more with fresh cucumber or tomato..