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Duck 'prosciutto'

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doG reeB
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So ive recently been infatuated with making my own charcuterie, predominantly those with primal cuts before i begin investing in sausage/salami making and the effort required to knock out a batch.

So far i have made some real belly bacon and most recently duck prosciutto. If you love duck and love Prosciutto di Parma i strongly suggest you try making it. If you can brew beer cleanly without infection, you can most certainly make charcuterie following proper sanitary/temperature requirements throughout the process.

Ingredients required.
2x duck breasts
pure coarse salt (like the stuff you get at the fish and chip shop, not saxa rubbish)
white pepper (optional)

Clean your duck breast up. Get rid of any stray cuts of meat and neaten up the fat/skin cap so it cleanly encompasses the meat on one side. the better it presents now, the better it will look post cure/drying.
Rinse the meat and clean up any quills, etc. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towel until there is no longer any moisture on the meant or skin (don't forget the spots between the meat/skin either.)

Prepare two (or one) container with enough salt to fit each duck breast without the meat touching the sides or bottom of the vessel. You want the breast packed and surrounded by nothing but salt. Again if you are putting both breasts in the same container, make sure they are not touching. Each breast must be blanketed in salt.
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Place the duck breast neatly in the container skin side up. The container on the left has had the duck breast covered with salt.
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Once the duck breasts have been packed in salt, cover with lids/cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Once 'cured', rinse the dusk breasts from the salt and once again, thoroughly dry with paper towel. The colour would have changed slightly and look somewhat darker/richer (in some parts mildly grey) in colour, this is normal.

Now sprinkle freshly ground white pepper on both sides of the breast. once coated wrap with cheesecloth, and if you do not have cheese cloth use brand new 'chux' style cloths. These are inexpensive and allow the meat to breathe/take away any moisture from the breast.

Finally tie and hang the breast in a moderately humid and cool environment 8-15deg. i choose my laundry cabinet which is currently holding at roughly 12-13 deg c. Forget about the duck for at least 7 days (mine took 9 days and im continuing to hang the second breast until the weekend to trial the flavour changes but continuing to keep an eye on the texture of the meat.) The breast will be ready when it is relatively firm but still giving (you don't want it like jerky or biltong).
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Now onto the easy part.

Slice and enjoy! :icon_cheers:
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manticle

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I made this last year and it was delicious but next time I would swap the white pepper for black. Dead simple though and pretty quick. Pancetta and bacon are also super easy.

I think hopefully this week, i should be buying much pork product to make sausage, salami, pancetta, bacon and maybe coppacola. Got plans for bresola and some more duck proscuitto too but we'll see. Brewng gets in the way.
 

capretta

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i have made my own "biltong" style meats in the oven ( slow dried around 40-50c for 6 or so hours) but this sort of meat curing has always scared me a little.. :eek:
do you reuse your salt or throw it out? does a dip in vinegar mitigate the risks of home curing? also it looks delicious
!
 

manticle

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I don't re-use the salt.

Whole muscle cuts run no risk of botulism if that's your concern.
 

benno1973

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Wow, that's coincidental. Was just about to get the duck breast out of the fridge to make duck prosciutto! Have dried some orange peel and am planning on grinding it with some star anise and cinnamon to add to the salt, to see of the flavour permeates the breast a little. A bit like duck l'orange, prosciutto style. I have heard of much longer hanging times (up to a month) so the meat is quite dry, a lot like traditional prosciutto, which is fine if you have a meat slicer and can shave it thinly. Luckily I do! :icon_cheers:

Your slices do look delicious. What's the texture like? Sometimes when it's a little rare, the texture can be off-putting but the meat part of yours looks quite well cured.

EDIT: Here's a recipe for a long hanging version...
http://honest-food.net/2012/07/05/duck-prosciutto-recipe/

To be honest, those thick slices don't look particularly appetising, but I imagine iif it was thinly shaved, it would be lovely.
 

Fents

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troy and i have been making this for 3 years now. this years one has been our best. will bring some to the vic swap for all to try.
 

jimmy86

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I don't re-use the salt.

Whole muscle cuts run no risk of botulism if that's your concern.

Not being a smart arse, But just wondering how the seam of a muscle is different to a knife cut regarding bacteria?
I used to make a lot of cured meat (although I used nitrites) for a living and never noticed anything different. Also I hot smoked everything for time v profit so was probably also made a difference to my conclusion.
 

manticle

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I'm mainly talking about botulism. Sufficient salt should be enough to kill most bacteria or retard its growth but the deadliness of botulism makes a lot of people want to (rightfully) exercise caution.

Botulism spores may exist on the outside of meat but in that form are harmless. They need non-acidic anaerobic conditions to germinate which is when they start producing deadly toxins. They don't exist naturally on the inside of meat so they need to get to the inside to germinate thus: once you mince your meat up, it's a different story.

Some references here: http://mattikaarts.com/blog/charcuterie/ni...s-and-nitrites/

http://mattikaarts.com/blog/charcuterie/meat-curing-safety/

http://ruhlman.com/2011/02/meat-curing-safety-issues/ (and also in Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie which is where I first came across the idea and the above recipe)

You can make things like bacon, proscuitto and pancetta safely with just salt, fresh meat and proper hygiene/sanitation.
 

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Wow, that's coincidental. Was just about to get the duck breast out of the fridge to make duck prosciutto! Have dried some orange peel and am planning on grinding it with some star anise and cinnamon to add to the salt, to see of the flavour permeates the breast a little. A bit like duck l'orange, prosciutto style. I have heard of much longer hanging times (up to a month) so the meat is quite dry, a lot like traditional prosciutto, which is fine if you have a meat slicer and can shave it thinly. Luckily I do! :icon_cheers:

Your slices do look delicious. What's the texture like? Sometimes when it's a little rare, the texture can be off-putting but the meat part of yours looks quite well cured.

EDIT: Here's a recipe for a long hanging version...
http://honest-food.net/2012/07/05/duck-prosciutto-recipe/

To be honest, those thick slices don't look particularly appetising, but I imagine iif it was thinly shaved, it would be lovely.
i think the biggest issue with the drying process for a duck breast is moreso around the RH (Residual Humidity for those playing at home. ;)) coupled with the thickness of the meat being the deciding factors around how long to hang it for. I also saw recipes around the month in length but based on how firm the breat was in this after 1/3 of that time, i can only assume the other im still hanging will be twice as hard in 7 days. If only they told us weight loss % i think that would be a more accurate measure than simply a date range.

The texture of the meat is a lot like prosciutto however if it was cut any thicker it would probably be somewhat leathery. will be good to compare with the other breast when its done. Im just glad i have some decent knife skillz up my sleeve.

Planning on making a capicollo on the weekend. I couldnt decide on sweet or spicy, so im doing two! GABAGOOL!

Oh and a bresaola if i have time/energy.

http://youtu.be/N5fmz5XdGq4
 

benno1973

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Yes, the RH plays a big part in how quickly it dries and the consistency of the end product. Lower RH means a faster drying meat, but also means you end up with a 'rind' on the outside which can hamper the inside from drying out. So you essentially end up with a crusty outside and wet interior, which is about as appetising as it sounds. Slower drying is the go, although as you point out, duck breast is quite thin and will easily dry throughout within 7-9 days.

Anyway, you've inspired me and I have 4 breasts up and hanging in my curing fridge. 2 cured with orange, star anise and cinnamon, and another 2 done a little spicier with smoked paprika, chilli, garlic powder and pepper - basically a rehash of the link I provided earlier.

I was also interested to see that most people recommend wrapping the breast in cheesecloth. I've done pancetta, salamis, etc before and not used the cheesecloth, so I trialled 2 with the cheesecloth and 2 without, just to see what sort of difference it makes.

One question for those in the know - most meats (pork, beef, etc) are salt cured in a reasonable amount of salt, which is generally proportional to the weight of the meat. Also, the cure time is much longer. So for example, when making pancetta I cure the belly with enough salt to rub into the meat, vacuum seal in bags and cure for around a week. However everything I've read about curing duck breast indicates that the breast should be packed in salt and cured for 24-36 hours. Why the difference?
 

benno1973

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So I took down one of the duck breasts today and had a taste. A little too salty perhaps (I let it go 36 hours, which was obviously a little long), but delicious nonetheless. A lot of the duck flavour shines through, along with a little funk which I really like. I wasn't too thorough about washing the cure off the breasts before hanging them, and every so often you get a small taste of the cure, which tastes fantastic:

Duck Prosciutto Cure:
(enough for 2 duck breasts)
  • 3/4 cup of salt
  • Dried zest from a whole orange
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 stick of cinnamon

All ingredients ground and massaged into duck breasts, vacuum sealed for 36hrs, and then hung to dry.

 

Phoney

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Looks great Keisar, Did you dry the orange peel yourself or did you buy it like that? (if so where?)
 

benno1973

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I made the orange peel myself. Just took a vege peeler to an orange, and then dried it out, partly in a low oven, and partly just sitting on the benchtop for a few days. It smelled just as intense dried as it did fresh, and certainly comes through in the final taste.
 

tricache

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I think I might try this next...now that I have a dedicated "man" fridge haha
 

Airgead

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I made the orange peel myself. Just took a vege peeler to an orange, and then dried it out, partly in a low oven, and partly just sitting on the benchtop for a few days. It smelled just as intense dried as it did fresh, and certainly comes through in the final taste.
So how much flavour comes through in the duck? Does it penetrate the flesh or is it just bits of the cure left behind on the outside?

I seriously have to try this. It looks freakin awesome.

Cheers
Dave
 

benno1973

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I cut a little of the inner flesh and had a taste. If you really think about it, there's orange and cinnamon there, but maybe it's because I know there's orange in it. Sometimes I'm sure I just imagine those flavours. It's really probably more duck flavoured with a little funk and some aromatics.

But I've recently been just rinsing cures off (rather than really washing it and getting every last speck of it) and the flavours shine through a bit more.

So honestly its probably mostly the cure left behind that's adding the flavour.
 

philmud

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Probably a stupid question - using my fermentation fridge as a hanging space would be to invite an infection right? Where do people hang their meat?
 

stakka82

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You'll need fresh air, and some circulation.

This thread is a revelation, how did I miss this last year? Duck prosciutto just bumped a czech pils on my to do list, and that's saying something.
 

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