Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cured Salmon Swedish way

Gravad lax in Swedish or Cured salmon is a Swedish delicacy we eat on most big holidays in this country. A favorite of mine and must have.
June 24 was the Midsummer holiday in Sweden .The biggest and most important national holiday in Sweden where all people celebrate with good food and drinks.
The typical Swedish Smörgåsbord with lot of good dishes, snaps and songs. A joyful day for sure to celebrate the lightest day of the year in Sweden.

This table is not complete without the "Gravad lax".

This is the recipe for this fantastic dish:

- Salmon filet  
- Salt 
- White pepper crushed
- White sugar
- Whiskey ( optional )
- Dill

The bigger Salmon u can get the better . Need to be fat enough to get the best flavors and the right texture. Not a thin dry fish.

You start to fillet the fish if u don´t get it fillet already.
Make sure all the bones are removed. Pretty easy as the bones are big.
You should use both the fillets as big pieces as u want to use. If the Salmon hasn´t been in the freezer already u need to have it in the freezer first before u start curing the meat.
This is to make sure parasites dies if any.

Now it´s time for the curing.
We normally use about 1-1,5 kgs Salmon for one cure.

The salt and sugar mix should be around 50% each.
In this case 1 dl sugar and 1 dl salt.
We add this together with the crushed white pepper. Around 2-3 table spoons.
The files are now rubbed in with this mix. This can be done directly inside a big plastic bag so that u don´t waste any of the mix.
Don´t forget the dill. Make sure u cut some smaller pieces as this should also be rubbed on the meat.
Finally u add some bigger pieces of the dill in the plastic bag.
In the bag the both fillet pieces should be put together like a hamburger with dill in between.

You can also add a few table spoons with some Whiskey to lift the flavor to another dimension.
This can give a very good flavor to the Salmon. It´s like cooking with wine. The taste depends on the quality. In this case also.

Now u close the plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Turn it once in a while during the curing time.

Now it should be ready to be sliced and enjoyed.

In Sweden we have a thin hard bread . Some butter on the bred and a few slices of gravad lax and sprinkled with some white pepper. Wow this is so good!

You can enjoy the Salmon with a lot a variety as u like it.

Try it u won´t regret it!

Brown bear visit close call

This is one of my places where I use to hunt wild boar.
A big brown bear male visiting looking for some easy food . Midnight June 21, 2016.
As u can see it crushed the hard plastic barrel with food for the pigs. No pigs have this force.

2 weeks earlier I shot a wild boar exactly here. A week later after I shot the pig I went out there to throw out some food to the pigs and checking the camera.
U could see some pictures of some pigs just before I shot one. Then a picture of me when I walk out there to the shot pig. Nothing strange with that.
Normally there won´t be much actions there after that as all the animals are scared away. But not this night.

Just 30 minutes after I left the camera takes another picture. It´s a picture with bad quality but u could see it isn´t a pig though. Seems bigger and wolf/bear like.  Normally only pigs walking here.
Me and my friends looked at the picture and we were pretty sure it was a bear.
Oh my!! I thought. Was it there all the time while I was there just luring in the bushes?
Anyway the timing with only 30 minute margin felt a little to close....

A week after the bad quality picture I went out there again to throw out some food and check the camera.
Now I see the crushed barrel and some bear foot prints in the mud. Ops I thought.
Then we most probably where right about the picture.
When checking the camera and new photos I got the evidence. The bear pictures above.
Wow ! It was a big male brown bear. Probably the one I´ve seen 2 times earlier during the years.
I start to think it wants to join me or something else.....

Don´t think this is the last time. Gives a little extra touch to the hunting knowing u might not be alone out there....

                                                    Here is the bad quality picture.

Never boring out hunting !

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wild boar jerky

This is the favorite jerky everybody I know wants to have. My own mix.
Used to be a secret until now..... Try it u won´t regret it.
There are plenty of different jerky recipes out there for sure. Some good some not so good.
This is sooo good I can assure u . U get the perfect mix of sweetness, saltiness, heat , acidity and the fantastic umami(meat taste).
The tastes exploding and sings nicely in your mouth and last for a very long time.

Perfect snack with a cold beer but also perfect when u start getting hungry. Kills all hunger feeling and u can last for a few more hours after just a little piece of it.
A good snack when u are working, training, fishing, hunting or whenever.
I use to bring some when out hunting for many hours. Don´t need much to feel satisfied and happy.
The kids love it. Good snack for them in school and a good back up when the lunch sucks and candy can be easy at hands. It´s healthy also.

Let´s talk about the process now.
I usually use beef but sometimes wild boar meat like this time. I think u can use all kind of meat more or less.The meat I used this time was small casserole parts. A little bit more work then cutting the slices as they get small and all different sizes.
U can also use a bigger piece of meat as I normally do to work with and making bigger slices.

If u let the meat get frozen first it´s much easier to slice thinner slices while the meat starts to get warm again.
I normally work with about 1 kg meat . Usually fits perfect to the dryer machine I use.
A machine supposed to be used to dry mushrooms or fruits etc. Not meat but it works well though.
U can also dry it in the oven at 70 degrees Celcius with the hatch slightly open to make sure the moist disappears out from the oven. The dryer machines are found on most bigger home electronic retailers and costs about +- EUR 50,-  .

When the meat is sliced u need to marinade it for some time.
I use to keep the meat in the marinade for about 48 houres before I start the drying process.

This is the marinade recipe for 1 kg sliced meat:

Soya 1dl
White wine vinegar 1/2 dl
Liquid Hickory smoke  2 table spoons
Light Syrup 3 table spoons
Muskovado sugar 2 table spoons
Chipotle chili powder  1 tea spoon
Garlic powder  5 tea spoons
Black pepper 2 table spoons
Salt  1 table spoon
Anise powder  1 tea spoon
Cayenne pepper 1 tea spoon

I use a plastic bag . Adding the marinade and meat and closing the bag.
Then I start squeezing and rubbing the plastic bag gently making sure everything in it gets well blended.
When ready the bag is placed in the refrigerator for 48 hours.Turning it around once in a while when remembering.

48 hours is no law but it´s always good if the meat gets a few hours to get married with all the flavors.
Now it´s time for the drying process. Open up the plastic bag and start digging for slices .
The slices are then placed on the dryers different layers. This one I use have 5 layers.
Keep some space between them to make sure the warm air in the machine can move around through the different layers.
When a layer is ready u do the last step before the final drying.
Now it´s time to sprinkle the meat slices with a tasty spice mix.

This is my tasty sprinkle mix:

Salt flakes 1 table spoon
Muskovado sugar 3 tea spoons
Black pepper 2 table spoons
Anise 1 tea spoon
Garlic powder 1 table spoon
Chilli powder medium strong 3 tea spoons
Ginger powder  1 tea spoon

Pretty similar to the basic marinade recipe.
All the spices are grained/mixed to a nice powder. This lasts for a few batches and can be kept in a spice jar.  
When ready I sprinkle very gently on top of each meat slice. Not to much. This gives the little extra touch to it.
Then it´s time to start the drying process. The cover is closed and then I start the machine.
It should keep temperature around 70 degrees Celsius.
Depending how thick u have sliced the meat the longer u might need to keep it in the dryer.
I think 2-3 mm thick slices is good. It differs a lot for sure sometimes.

Now it´s just waiting time. It can take from 6-10 hours . You can start checking after about 6 hours.
Then u might find some smaller thin pieces that might start feeling dry. You can pick them out and wait for the thicker pieces to get ready.
I´m not afraid to let the pieces stay a little bit longer in the dryer to make sure they are really dry.
Pretty simple to remove the dry prices.

Now they are ready to be enjoyed.
You can keep them in a glass jar och plastic bag. The good thing with jerky is that it lasts for a very long time if kept away from moist .
But it never last that long. Not a problem.

 I hope u enjoy this!

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 !

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Smoked Rainbow trout

This morning the 0,7 kg Rainbow trout I caught while fly fishing in a near by lake called Skysjön the other day ended up in my smoker.

Just salted it inside and outside a little bit more then u think should be enough. Let the salt suck in to the meat while lighting up the smoker.
Make sure u have a good heat in the smoker before u add the the fish in to it. It´s for sure different methods how u should do this but I think around 100 degrees Celcius is good for this kind of fish.

I like the fish to get cooked pretty fast in the smoker until the inner temperature reach about 45 degrees celcius. You want it smoked just enough to feel the nice smoke flavors. Not taste like an ash tray. After about 50 minutes the fish was ready this time.

As this is a manual smoker I use the temperatures can be difficult sometimes to keep steady.
You need to monitor the smoker pretty frequently. But this is the sport and challenge also I feel.

Alder tree wood chips was used with some apple wood chucks to get the smoke.

Finally the fish was ready and ended up on the breakfast sandwich .
Bread a lot of nice salty butter and the fresh warm newly smoked fish. Nothing more.

Just like heaven !

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Chorizo making at home

Finally making some sausage again.
This time Chorizo with my own final touch . I can say this won´t be the last time. You for sure never know the end result when mixing and testing as now but it honestly tasted fantastic.

This is the recipe :

Pork loin 1 kg
Pork belly 0,2 kg
Paprika red smoked 15 gram
Paprika red sweet 15 gram
Black pepper corns 15-20 gram
Cinnamon stick 2 gram
Carnation 2 gram
Oregano  2 gram
Aniseed 2 gram
Cayenne pepper 2 gram
Chili pepper 2 gram
Sage 5 gr (Fresh leafs from the herb garden this time)
Salt 2 table spoons
Garlic 5 cloves
Nutmeg 2 gram
White vine vinegar 3-4 table spoons
Casing from pig 3-5 meters enough

First thing in the morning or the night before start making the sausage the frozen casing needed to lay in cold water for about 4 hours before it was ready to be used.

Next step is to start grinding and mixing all the spices in a can.
When u have grinded all the herbs and spices to a fine mix u start adding the viengar until u get a nice paste.

Then u can start working with the meat.
The Pork loin is cut into smaller pieces so it fit into the grinder machine . Then grinded to
a medium sized minzed meat with size about 5 mm.
The pork belly is cut in small sizes with a knife. A little thicker then the pork loin meat. Not grinded.

Now u can start mixing all the meat and the spice paste.
I worked it through with my hands for about 10 minutes, Using some thin plastic gloves .

Finally it was time to start making the sausages.
Ending up with about 8-10 sausages with the length about 15 cm.

When u starting to get the feeling for the sausage making u are out of meat unfortunately.
It´s pretty fun work when u start seeing the nice creations popping up in front of u.

Now I know this mix works just perfect and next time soon I will at least double or tipple it.

Good luck !