So my late pork obsession will be finished with this internal view of my pigs head rolled into porchetta di testa. The flavors are great and the roulade was sliced paper thin. The texture is a great mix of savory and salty flavors. The exterior pigs skins gives the ham a nice crunch when you bite onto this mosaic of meat.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
This truly is one of the best sandwiches in our country. I've been talking about going to the silver palm restaurant in Chicago ever since I saw the clip of Bourdain chowing down on this sandwich on No Reservations a few years back. My sous chef and I decided to finally go grab one on Friday and boy were we two pigs in a blanket. As soon as we sat down, the whole place smelled of slowly roasted bbq pork. The actual sandwich is called the three little pigs because of its ingredients. A breaded pork tenderloin is topped with thick slices of baked ham, crispy bacon, a fried egg, onion ring, brioche bun, and melted gruyere. About half way through this monstrosity we hit a wall that laughed and started taunting us that were not capable of completing this journey. Finishing this sandwich no longer became a means of hunger after a few beers, but an accomplishment of finishing what the big bad wolf couldn't. Now that I've actually had the sandwich, I will quickly recommend it to any pork lover searching for that memorable experience.
Friday, March 25, 2011
The pigs face has been marinating overnight and is ready to cook. First I've placed the tongue thin side into the snout to fill the center our roulade. The pigs face is rolled and tied with butchers twine to secure. Next I've vacuum sealed in a bag to remove all the air and to also keep infusing flavor from the marinade. A large pot is brought up to poaching temperature and the bag is dropped in. This will slowly poach for a few hours until the pigs face roulade reaches about 150 degrees. I will then drop the bag into ice water and chill to about 40 degrees. The bag will remain sealed for the next two days before opening and slicing for service. The result will be an amazing piece of porchetta di testa inspired by Chris Cosentino.
One of the most important concepts in the kitchen is total utilization. With the pigs head cleaned we still had a brain leftover that is a true delicacy. After removing the brain, I poached them in stock made from the skull with some salt and black pepper. I toasted some fresh crostinis and made an omelet with some fresh farm eggs. A little parmesan and chives to garnish our morning staff meal. This was a first for some of the cooks and it was fun to see their reactions to how good the brain actually is. The creamy texture paired perfectly with eggs.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
First course from lunch today.
Here is a dish that I've been wanting to do for quite awhile and finally just started the process. I had a really fresh pigs head delivered from a local farm on Wednesday and starting my "face bacon" today. There are tons of little hairs on the pigs head so we use a blow torch to burn them off. Then we remove the face with a sharp knife starting at the jaw and working all the way around the skull. I only used the tip of the boning knife to avoid any large mistakes. It's best to use the natural weight to peel off the face cleanly. To remove the tongue, split the jaw with a cleaver and use a boning knife to cut away. Next I toasted some fennel seeds, mustard seeds, and cardamon over high heat and ground up in a coffee grinder. The spices were mixed with salt, sugar, espellette powder, lemon zest, garlic, shallows, herbs, and oil. The pigs head and tongue were rubbed thoroughly to marinate overnight in the cooler. Tomorrow I will begin round two which involves butcher's twine, sous vide, poaching, and chilling.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
First course appetizer from lunch today, some classics still make me smile when executed properly
Tender morsels of layered pork fat and meat. The pigs are from gunthorp farms located in lagrange, Indiana. These pork bellies showed up so fresh they still had tits on them. The pigs are an heirloom of a few breeds such as duroc, yorkshire, and tamworth that result in an amazing piece of bacon. We packed the bellies in a salt cure for 2 days and braised in stock overnight. The picture above is the belly after it has been pressed and chilled for a few hours, we then cut into small cubes. The pork belly cubes get seared in a dry pan until golden brown and warmed through in the oven.
One of my favorite styles of ham to eat or cook is Tasso, a spicy cajun rubbed pork shoulder that's been cured and smoked. I had some extra pork shoulder left from our sausage making last week and decided to prepare some Tasso for the pantry. The pork shoulder was cut into medium sized pieces and packed in a salt cure for four hours. The rub was white pepper, cayenne, allspice, and majoram. We smoked the shoulder over hickory chips for about 10 minutes and then roasted at 200 degrees until tender. This ham is perfect for beans, soups, and stuffings.
After 10 days of hanging, the duck proscuitto is finished. The texture is firm on the flesh and the skin is dry but still fatty. We sliced it paper thin to reveal a marvelous translucent piece of salty Proscuitto. The salt cure isn't overpowering and the white pepper dusting on the outside compliments the dried meat so well. Now we will cryovac and save for later.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Something fun that we are starting this week is House Cured Duck Proscuitto. One of the most referenced books on our shelves right now is "charcuterie" by Michael Rhulman and Brian Polcyn which inspired this project. The ducks are from a local Indiana farm and were purchased to confit the legs for a party last week. The leftover breasts have an amazing flavor compared to some of the mass produced ducks out there on the market. We packed the duck breast in salt and will cure for the next 24 hours. The duck breasts will be rinsed completely tomorrow and Hung in a cool humid place over the next 7 days.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Pork belly is one of the easiest things to make and it can really take your menu to the next level. I've taken a really nice piece of pork belly and rubbed it with a dry cure of salt, sugar, and various spices. The belly gets coated in the dry cure and pressed for at least 12 hours. Once you've waited for the spices to infuse onto the belly, give it a rinse and slowly braise for a few hours until tender. Once the belly is done, place it between two sheet trays and chill until firm. This will allow you to cut the belly into clean squares. Brown the cubes of belly in a saute pan and warm through in the oven. I like to reduce the braising liquid down and serve as the sauce. Pork belly is fairly cheap and gives the diner a different opinion of this cut of meat rather than just American breakfast bacon.