It is purely by coincidence that Raymond Blanc gave a method for duck ham on Kitchen Secrets this week. At the time his episode aired I had already had duck hanging in the shed for 3 weeks so if anything I think we can say that Ray has copied me, not the other way around (pretty sure I caught him nosing around my garden last week).
My recipe for duck ham is actually based on a similar cure to this pancetta recipe except there is only salt, pepper and juniper in the cure. I think 2 weeks hanging would have been enough, but my bird phobia made me leave it for 3.
Ingredients stage one
2 crushed vitamin c tablets per breast Crushed pepper to taste Enough Maldon salt to cover the duck well.
Gently score the duck fat, I don’t think it’s necessary to remove it, unlike some Frenchmen. Mix the . . . →Cured duck / duck ham
In the winter of 2009/2010 I had great success in curing my own salame and chorizo, and I intended to have an even better winter 2010/2011 (it has to be winter since I have no cellar and therefore no reliable way to cure meat in the summer). Alas, best laid plans and all that, I had a heavily pregnant wife followed shortly by a new-born baby to contend with in the early part of winter, so my dreams of butchering a whole pig and curing meat for winter were scarpered.
Towards the end of January when some semblance of normality was starting to return, I figured I had time to squeeze in a side of pancetta; this, is the story of that pancetta. (credit to @lindywildsmith for the basic salt percentages and curing times).
From fresh pork to pancetta takes at least 4 weeks, but 8 weeks gives a more complex flavour. The process falls into 2 . . . →Home cured Pancetta
Meat to fat ratio
I read on the internet that it’s important to use a combination of different cuts of meat to get a good ratio of lean to fat – something like 70% lean to 30% fat, but advice on this varies wildly depending on where you look.
From my own testing and tasting, I found a good ratio with something like 1kg pork shoulder (which is semi lean) to 400g pork belly (very fatty) and 200g pork back fat (all fat). The pork back fat can be bought easily at supermarkets in Holland and is already cured; I find is a nice nod to Toulouse sausage which uses a high proportion of cured meat.
British sausages use a high proportion of rusk. At its worst, this allows the sausage producer to use a lot of water in the mix thus increasing profit but reducing flavour. But used well, rusk . . . →Basic sausage making