Wednesday, February 2, 2011

CharcutePalooza: The roast, the roll, the risotto

Homemade Bacon

   After what felt like forever, but was really only about one week, the bacon is ready! After its' chill in the refrigerator, into the oven it went. Unfortunately, it did not see the smoker this time. The weather in Georgia is a very peculiar thing. Last weekend it was 70 degrees, I was lounging on a patio in flip flops and sipping a margarita. Today, freezing cold and rainy. So the oven would have to suffice. After a 2 1/2 hour slow roast, it was done. Nothing to it. I am going to chill it before I slice it and fry it, but I did steal a small chunk from the side, which was divine. Salty, sweet, and tons of flavor. I cut the rind off and saved it for future beans, soups, and the such.

Bacon Rind
Use rind for superior flavoring

   Project Pancetta on the other hand, was quite the pain in the ass learning experience. After its' chilly cure, it needed to be rolled up tight and tied with twine. Sounded easy enough. Maybe it was the long day at work, or possibly the lack of wine, but rolling a firm cured piece of slippery meat as tightly as possible was maddening. It took many attempts just to get the damn thing rolled, and just as many to tie it even somewhat respectably (yes, I am still completely terrible at trussing, but improving). It did not seem to matter how long I made that piece of twine, it was just never quite long enough. But after a lengthy and tiring battle, the pork caved, I won.

You guessed it, into the coat closet

   Yet another creepy piece of meat hanging silently in the closet. This one kind of resembles a person's arm, or maybe shin? It will need about 2 weeks to finish curing before it is ready. I have no idea what I am going to do with all of this meat!
   While the bacon was roasting in the oven, I thought I would take a moment to make a duck stock. I had the carcass from the prosciutto hanging out in the freezer, and I also had some leftover duck prosciutto, so naturally I should make risotto. If you haven't made your own stock before, I highly recommend that you try it. You can use either a raw or cooked carcass, be it chicken or duck. I do very little measuring when I make stock, I tend to instead just toss whatever I have in hand into the pot.

Duck Stock


1 carcass, stripped of meat
4 carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, cut into quarters
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 scallions, cut in 1/2
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
4 sprigs thyme
1 bunch parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
water to cover

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours. Strain, and that's it. You can chill it overnight and skim the fat off the top, but I never have the time or patience for that.

Duck Stock

  After the stock is made, you have the perfect opportunity to make risotto. Since the stock is already hot, there is not need to go to the trouble of heating it up. I used the duck prosciutto from the first CharcutePalooza challenge to bring the dish together. This is a great recipe for a cold damp night, but can be improvised for any season.

Risotto in Action

Duck Risotto with Mushrooms & Spiced Raisins


2 T butter
2 T onion, minced
6 mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs thyme, stripped
1 3/4 c Arborio rice
1/3 c red wine (heated)
7 cups of hot duck stock (can substitute with chicken, beef, or mushroom stock)
*handful of spiced raisins
1 T butter
2 T half & half (optional)
Pecorino Romano to taste
Duck Prosciutto to garnish

Melt butter in a large saucepan and add onions and mushrooms. Saute until tender.
Add rice and garlic, cook for 1 minute.
Add wine and stir until absorbed.
Add 1/2 c of stock and stir until absorbed.
Continue adding 1/2 c of stock at a time until rice is thick and al dente (about 20 min.)
Add raisins, remaining butter, half & half, and cheese.
Stir and cover for 3 min.
Spoon into individual bowls, top with more Pecorino Romano, and garnish with thin slices of duck prosciutto.

*Spiced Raisins

Heat a handful of raisins in a small bowl with brandy, allspice, and orange peel. Let steep for 20 min.

Duck Risotto

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