Making Andouille at Home

Saving andouille from the supermarket.

22nd Aug 2011

This didn't start off as a gumbo mission, though I did end up there (more to come on that front soon.) No, the saga began simply: about three weeks ago I needed andouille for a Dinner Tonight . All I could find at the grocery store was a product that claimed to be the right stuff, but had all the character of cheap bologna and about as much spice as, well, cheap bologna. I was angry.

Then...

Corned Beef Short Ribs

A quicker, easier process than the whole brisket

15th Mar 2011

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Corned beef is one of the more basic and surprising kitchen experiments. But I think that people still think it's pretty nuts.  I'm staying in California for a couple weeks, and had to buy the ingredients, cook, photograph, and eat this project while staying at someone else's house (sorry for the lack of pictures).  First of all--it's really tough cooking somewhere you don't have all your fami...

Lamb Pancetta | Charcutepalooza February Challenge

Plus, a Killer Recipe To Use It In

15th Feb 2011

Lamb-Pancetta

We are thrilled to be participating in Charcutepalooza , an organized blogging movement of people writing about the noble art of charcuterie. Scores of people around the country (or even the world?) are making and writing about bacon, pancetta, and other delicious variations this fine month of February—and throughout the year, will be embarking on ever-cooler projects like brining, and smo...

A Guide to Bacon Styles, and How to Make Proper British Rashers

Everyone loves bacon, but it's not always the same thing.

21st Apr 2010

back bacon vs American bacon
British Bacon vs American bacon

If you've been reading the site lately, you may have been following Nick on his rather strange quest to recreate a full English breakfast from scratch (his first project was the British banger sausage ). Why, I don't know. But when Nick proposed that I take over the homemade bacon portion of the project, I leapt at the opportunity to contribute. Homema...

Homemade British Bangers and the Search for Rusk

How to make better bangers

30th Mar 2010

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As I was digging into making my own British bangers for my Full English Breakfast challenge , I kept stumbling onto the same sad story which may or may not be complete bullshit: During the early 20th century thanks to two World Wars, meat was scarce in England and pork sausages were padded with some grains and extra liquid to help stretch the meat reserves. When cooked, these padded sausa...

Idea Lab: Full English Breakfast from Scratch

Can you replicate the best English breakfast at home?

16th Mar 2010

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To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.
- W. Somerset Maugham

I survived my half a year in England on a diet of boiled potatoes, canned peas, Heinz beans, and 99p egg and cress sandwiches I purchased from a convenient store. The dollar was nearly worthless next to the mighty pound at that time, and I hoarded what little cash I could for bus passes and the od...

Chez Panisse Cassoulet

A tastier and quicker version of the classic.

4th Mar 2010

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I'm tired of people lying about cassoulet. Every recipe I've ever read calls it a "peasant dish," and the fact is, cassoulet is really, really expensive to make. You need duck confit, which, if you don't buy pre-made, costs you either in the form of overpriced duck fat or the need to buy a whole duck to render it yourself. Then, you need fancy sausage, preferably the garlicky "Toulouse" vari...

Faux Confit: Steamed Duck Legs

Can steamed duck legs tasted better than ones poached in duck fat?

14th Jan 2010

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The question about whether a steamed duck leg tastes as good duck confit has been boggling my mind for months ever since I read this article in the New York Times . Finally, last night, after spending the previous three days hacking up two ducks, rendering loads of fat, and figuring out what to do with the heads ( Jonathan Gold actually sent me some interesting options on Twitter), I f...

There Will be Blood. Sausages.

7th Jan 2010

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Last year I fell in love with blood sausage.  Maybe that sounds strange.  So let me explain.

In Estonia, around Christmastime, they begin to fill up the meat counters, black and smooth. Just piles of them.  When Christmas comes, everyone roasts pork and potatoes, makes sauerkraut, and serves them with blood sausages.  And it wasn't until I had them as apart of this ritual that I began to...

Pork Rillettes

The best kind of wedding appetizers.

7th Sep 2009

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A pure expression of the pig: nothing extraneous, nothing wasted.  Pork, salt, and a little bit of time: that's all you need to make rillettes.  It was a beautiful idea which had led me to the kitchen, where I had 25 pounds of pork (a ball of lard, huge hunks of shoulder, and a bag of spare ribs larger than a medium-sized dog) and where I realized I was in over my head.

C onfiture de coch...

A Weekend of Beans and Brats

Insight into perfecting 90 minute, no-soak beans and homemade bratwursts.

24th Jun 2009

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It's been a delicious week.  I've been doling out my homemade bratwurst to close friends and making batches of 90 Minute, No-Soak beans just because I can.  I know some people had some questions about both of these posts, and this week has given me a few more insights to both processes which hopefully will answer some of them.  Also, Michael Ruhlman wanted to see my amateurish sp...

Wisconsin-Style Bratwurst

The ultimate guide to the Midwest's finest encased meat.

18th Jun 2009

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My little adventure with bratwurst reached its pinnacle after a tortuous three hour process of grinding, mixing, stuffing, poaching, and charcoal grilling.  What I faced, fortunately, looked a lot like the bratwurst of my wildest fantasies.  It was perfectly plump, gushing with juice, and absolutely haunted by charcoal smoke.  I stuffed that sausage into a huge roll and piled it high wi...

The Bratwurst Mystery

How do you make this Wisconsin classic?

11th Jun 2009

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I have been thinking about bratwurst for days.  What started as an idea for a simple cookout on my little Webber Grill has now completely consumed me because I simply can't find the right recipe.  The question eventually led me to walk into Hot Dougs on a recent Wednesday and ask Mr. Doug himself what was in the sausage.

But first, do you know?  What is it, exactly, that makes a bratwu...

Restaurants We Weren''t Looking For: Provence

Blake finds hidden gems in France.

21st May 2009

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Our goal for eating in France, as our budget was limited, was to find simple and unpretentious food.  And though we hit the ground running with a list of online recommendations culled from a number of sources--an article in Travel + Leisure , searches on Chowhound and eGullet, guidebooks galore--some of our best and most memorable meals came from eclectic little spots that nobody had writt...

Corned Beef

How to pickle brisket.

13th May 2009

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I was standing in the meat section of my local Korean grocery store (the excellent Joong Boo Market ) with fellow food blogger Brian, from the Daily Ikura .  He was talking me through his favorite Korean dishes and ingredients, and I was loving it.  We were discussing uses of red bean paste, which ramen was worth its price, and whether some brands of soy sauce were really so good you...

Biltong

Blake discovers South African dried beef.

25th Mar 2009

By Blake Royer Here in Estonia there is a word,...

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Here in Estonia there is a word, kevadväsimus , that translates as "spring fatigue."  It's the expression that refers to a grim mood that seizes us all when the sun has come out and the days are growing longer yet all other signs still point to winter.  We know the weather will improve, but it's that sliver of hope that makes it no...

Top that Pie: Fresh Italian Sausage

Make the perfect topping for your pizza.

23rd Feb 2009

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For the sausage novices, nothing could be quite so easy as this recipe from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie.  Because I was using it straight away I had no need to stuff it into casing only break them free a moment a latter.  I essentially just mixed everything together, ground it on the small die of my meat grinder, and cooked it.  It was about as time consuming as cutting up a bunch of vege...

Best of 2008: The Art of Curing Meat

2nd Feb 2009

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Welcome to our Perpetually Late Year-End Roundup. It's a tradition here at The Paupered Chef that we tend to pull off sometime in January or February.  Maybe we only put this thing together for our own amusement, because when you're constantly writing and thinking about new things, you sometimes forget where you've been.  It's illuminating, to see what captured one's imagination over...

"Saucisson" of Pork Tenderloin

A baby step towards making salami.

30th Nov 2008

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It's similar in appearance and texture, and has that unmistakable salty tang of cured meat.  I'm surprised it never occurred to me before, but the idea is simple.  Pork tenderloin, which is already in a convenient salami-like shape perfect for slicing, makes a perfect dry-curing project.

There is already one traditional cured meat called Lonzino , Italian, which is made not from the ten...

Homemade Hot Dogs and the Sausage Stuffing Adventure

13th Oct 2008

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Well, just look at that!  After all my anxiety and the lack of sausage stuffer before I started this adventure , on the third day I ate hot dogs.  They looked like hot dogs, smelled like hot dogs, and tasted like that perfect hot dog you always dream about (well, at least I dream about hot dogs).  Unbelievably beefy and with a hard snap from the sheep intestine, this was a truly wonderfu...

Sheep Intestines and the Quest for the Perfect Hot Dog

6th Oct 2008

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(Scene at the Paulina Meat Market in Chicago)

Butcher: "Number 37!"

Me: "Yeah, that's me."

Butcher: "What can I get for you?"

Me: "Yeah, I'll take 10 feet of sheep casings."

I don't say that often enough in life, and up until this Saturday it had never crossed my mind.  But here I was at Paulina Meat Market ordering sheep intestines from butchers that make their own fine...

Fresh Mexican Chorizo

How to make the staple Mexican sausage.

18th Sep 2008

The recipe comes from Diana Kennedy's "From My Mexican Kitchen".  This particular version comes from the Michoacán region.  She does give direction on how to stuff the mixture into casings, but I bailed out early.  Some day.

As first sausage making experiences go, I'd have to say this was pretty remarkable.  I got about 2 pounds of fresh sausage and spent about $12 dollars.  Half of it is fro...

Charcuterie Class Tomorrow at Whole Foods Bowery

23rd Jul 2008

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If you haven't signed up yet , there may be a few spots left: tomorrow, at the Whole Foods on Bowery at 7pm, I'll be teaching a class about salt preservation and the basics of dry-curing meat.  We'll be starting gravlax, bacon, and duck prosciutto projects.  The class is an incredible deal, and you'll walk away with two pounds of meat to finish curing in your apartment.

The Daily News d...

Real Homemade American Bacon

How to smoke pork belly at home.

2nd Jul 2008

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First, I needed to find some pork belly with its skin still firmly on. My previous attempt removed it , along with a lot of precious fat directly underneath.  My bacon didn't have nearly enough fat on it to fry up, so instead cooking up beautifully in a pan, it burned .  My local butcher wouldn't sell me a piece with the skin on unless I bought 10 pounds, a fact I still find ridicu...

Homemade Guanciale, the Verdict Is...

15th Jun 2008

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My most ambitious meat curing project yet recently emerged from an unplugged fridge in my living room.  It was a pig cheek from a heritage-breed pig, also known as the jowl, which was salted and seasoned with sugar, black pepper, and thyme leaves, then left in the bottom of my real fridge for a week to release moisture.  After that, I hung it to dry in the unplugged fridge for three more...

"Apartment Charcuterie" at Whole Foods Bowery

30th May 2008

We've done our fair share of charcuterie projects on this site and enjoyed every minute of it.  There have been successes , and there have been failures , but all in all, it's some of the most fun we've ever had making food.

Wholefoods_2 I'm beyond thrilled to report that on July 24th, Whole Foods Bowery in New York City will be offering a class for all interested in learning the...

Guanciale, Or How to Hang a Pig Jowl in Your Living Room

The other Italian bacon.

14th May 2008

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It took me almost a month and calls to half the butchers in New York before I could get my hands on a pair of pig jowls.  Here’s the problem: they want you to order the whole head.  And while I had a wonderful time watching pot-roasted pig heads go ferrying by my table at the Spotted Pig , when it was under the tutelage of British chef Fergus Henderson , the thought of lugging a 40...

Charcuterie Tales

10th Mar 2008

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Time to play catchup.  Blake has been on the forefront of this curing business for awhile now and I just couldn’t stand back while he was slicing off hunks of his own fresh bacon and duck prosciutto .  I picked up a duck and a pork belly and got to work.

It might seem a little redundant to document two projects that Blake has already covered, but in all fairness, these are d...

Beef Jerky Hijinks

12th Feb 2008

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Sometimes you just have to start.  I have been wanting to make beef jerky for a while now, but had always stumbled on how I was to actually dry out the meat.  I don’t have a smoker, and it didn’t sound like any of the other methods were going to work.  But hey, I thought, cowboys did this; I can do this.  So I bought some lean beef, sliced it thinly, and coated it with some salt, onion...

Adventures in Homemade Bacon

Make your bacon at home.

8th Feb 2008

The bacon most of us know it is made from pork belly, but there are also variations made from other cuts, notably the cheeks and jowl, which makes guanciale --a porkier tasting, fattier cut that's a staple in properly-made Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Bucatinia alla Amatraciana . Hog jowls are difficult to find, though, especially because a butcher would probably need to order an entire he...

Fennel-Cured Salmon Part 2: Out From the Deep

4th Feb 2008

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It didn't look pretty.  After two days in the fridge, my fennel-cured salmon looked something like a disaster.  A lot of the liquid had somehow seeped out of my protective covering.  This worried me because that meant the brine didn't probably coat the fish during the cure.  It might not be done. How would I know if it worked?

Ruhlman said to give it a touch.  "The salmon should be fir...

Fennel-Cured Salmon

30th Jan 2008

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Sparked with inspiration by Blake’s duck proscuitto , I procured Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie and dug in.  Don’t let anyone fool you; it’s intimidating stuff.  Curing food is the exact opposite of the cooking I’ve become used to.  I love to take fresh ingredients and then cook them quickly, without much fuss.  This process, hopefully, highlights the good quality of i...

The Duck Prosciutto Emerges

A results of a simple dry-cured meat project revealed

28th Nov 2007

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About ten days after I hung a salt-cured duck breast in the vestibule of my garden apartment, wrapped in cheesecloth and suspended by kitchen string in a little tent of wooden dowel rods, I retrieved it, unwrapped it, and laid it on a cutting board in my kitchen.  It was my first attempt at curing, my Duck Prosciutto .

The flesh had taken on a dark red, almost black color on the outside...

Beginner’s Charcuterie

1st Nov 2007

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There are two kinds of cookbooks: some I buy and use, and others I buy and admire. I plan for the former, but end up doing the latter.  I have cookbooks about offal , bread-making , and curing meat , but I’ve yet to order beef bones to roast . I have a copy of the River Cottage cookbook , which tells you how to deliver a lamb, dig for scallops, grow carrots, make bacon, and...

The Year of the Pig: Adventures in Cookbooks, River Cottage, and Chinatown

4th May 2007

Charcuterie Porksons

I’ve bought two cookbooks in the last week that teach you how to do funny things with pigs.  The first, which I haven’t had nearly enough time to explore, is Michael Ruhlman ’s Charcuterie , co-written with Brian Polcyn, a book about the wonders of salting, smoking, and curing meat, a tradition of which pork is the oinking mascot.  Much has been written of this book’s breakt...