Saturday, June 18, 2016

Prosciutto / Serrano home made

Wednesday Jun 8 , 2016 I started my first Prosciutto / Serrano project.
A 12 month project if everything works out as planned,

I might not follow all traditional ways of doing this. 
It´s a lot about the right temperatures, humidity , special hanging rooms, right seasons, how to cure and protect the meat etc.
When u read all information u easily get scared and won´t try. I have read a lot about it and for sure a lot of details needs to be done correctly though to succeed .
I will do it my own middle way with the resources I have and try my luck.

A nice 3 kg piece of wild boar thigh was used from a one year old pig. Direct from the nearby forest shot by myself the other day.
The meat was cleaned from any out hanging meat parts, fat and membranes. Making a clean nice surface to avoid unwelcome bacteria, mold and fungus to find an attractive place to grow on.

When the cleaning was done I prepared a salt cure. 
Cold tap water mixed with 10%  Nitrite salt making sure the meat was covered in a plastic bucket.
The meat then had to stay in the bucket for a few days to make sure the salt mix penetrating the meat in to the bone. In this case 5 days from Wednesday evening to Monday evening.
The saltwater penetrates about 1 cm from each side.per day.

Monday evening Jun 13 I removed the meat from the saltwater,
Washed it under cold tap water making sure most salt on the outside of the meat was removed.
Then wiped it dry with a clean cotton towel.

Now I weight the meat and found out the weight was more or less exactly 3 kgs.
Important that u know the start weight . The date and weight was written on a piece of card board box from an old Pizza box.

Now it was time to hang the meat finally. I used a thin rope u use for binding food. 
Then trying to find a good place to tie the meat around the bone . Making sure it won´t glide and fall down to the floor . Also attaching the cardboard note with the weight and date. 
Then hanging it on a wooden stud placed between the walls high close to the ceiling.
You want the meat to hang high and away from any potential animals passing by on the floor.

Now the meat hangs and the count down starts .

The room I use for this is a cellar room with concrete walls around it. It´s a small storing room where we use to store beverage , potatoes etc. It´s a little bit like a root cellar and I believe it can work good for this kind of project. A little bit warmer though but the same feeling.  Just hanged a Prucetta for 2 month with a perfect result in this room so I have good hopes. The Temperature right now is about 23 degrees Celcius and the humidity around 50% . It´s a closed dark room for most of the time. A little ventilation hole at the ceiling.

Now the meat will hang for some time before the next stage in the process.
Now the weight should reduce with about 20% . Should take about 2-3 month but u never know.
I will check and weight it when I think the time is right.

Then I will melt pig fat and mix it with maizena flour and spices and cover the meat with it.
From this stage u don´t want any more moist to disappear out from the meat.
That´s why u need to seal it. U can also cover the meat with some kind of fibre cloth. I won´t .
Now is the final stage when the flavors in the meat will start blooming.
Now u can only keep crossing your fingers. Smell the meat once in a while. If it doesn´t smell anything special u are probably ok. It shouldn´t smell bad at any time. Then u should get worried.

Now after hanging around 40 days the weight had reduced with about 20 % 
This means the so called salting period is over. The meat weight should not be reduced more now.
There need to be some moist left in the meat.
To avoid more weight reduction a protection layer must cover the meat.
One way to do this is to cover the meat with a layer of pig fat mixed with Corn flour / Maizena , herbs and spices.

For this I melted about 1 kg pig lard in the oven at about 200 degrees Celcius making sure all the fat became a liquid. In another bowl I had prepared a mix with corn flour , herbs and spices.

- Corn flour  5 dl
- Black pepper 1 dl
- Mixed dry herbs 1 dl
- Chili powder 3 table spoons
- Paprika powder 3  table spoons
- Garlic powder 2 table spoons

When the fat had melt I poured it over the corn powder and mixed it good.
Now I had to wait until the mix started to cool down and get the right texture to be lubricated around the meat .If u wait to long the fat will harden to much. Had to wait more then one hour. The last 30 minutes I kept the mix in the refrigerator. But it turned hard pretty quickly and almost took me by surprise. The mix should be nice and smooth to work with and be able to fix to meat. 
I think it worked out pretty well though. Let´s hope it protects it enough now.

Now it´s just waiting and monitoring to be done until we see the final result.
10-11 month in the future from now on.....

I will update this once in a while during the long waiting....

To be continued.

Now the final below one year later .... Jun 14 , 2017

Finally !!

The day is here. The Prosciutto hanged in the basement room now for exact one year / 365 days.
Time for a test.

It weight 3 kgs from start and have now been reduced to 1,7 kgs. Almost half the weight.
First I had to remove the protecting yellow layer of fat and spieces. Still a little sticky. A little work to remove but worth it. Now finally time to slice a piece and have a first test . So exciting....

No problem. The knife did the work .Pretty much the same texture as for my Breasolas hanging only for a month. 

So what about the taste??
A little salty but not to much. 
First I didn´t taste any specific flavors at all as I hoped for but after a while they started to pop up in the mouth. Very good. Enjoyable flavors for sure. Very promising.

I thought I give it a try first before letting the rest of the family and friends taste in case...
No bad smell or taste so it should be fine. 

Feels incredible . I have stored a piece of meat in the basement for one year hanging free in the roof.
Now I eat it. Pretty fantastic. So happy !