Category Archives: Charcuterie

Fatty Ducks and Geese: The Skinny on Rendering Fat, Confit, and Rillettes

Ducks and geese are fatty little creatures.  Historically even fattier than they are now.  Especially in southwestern France, where they are usually fattened to make foie gras.

This is a goose from Greens, Eggs, and Ham.  It weighs about eleven pounds.  We’re going to render some of its fat.  We’re also going to confit the breasts and legs, then turn them into rillettes.

Greens, Eggs, and Ham goose

First we cut the breasts and legs from our goose.  For a description of this process, see Poultry Cutting.

The breasts and thigh-legs

Rendering the Fat

Even though the choice fat around the breasts and legs is going into our confit, there is still lots of fat to be rendered from the goose. Look for fatty trim … Continue reading.

Easter Ham

For the last few years we’ve been curing our own Easter ham with more or less an entire leg of pork.

The primal cut of pork known as the leg is separated from the loin and belly by sawing through the middle of the pelvic bone.  The section of the pelvis that is left on the loin is called the pin bone.  The section on the leg is the haitch bone.  To remove the haitch bone you have to follow its frustrating curves with your knife until you expose the ball joint where the leg meets the pelvis.  Cut through this joint.

Next the skin is removed in one large sheet.

What remains of the leg typically weighs about 15 … Continue reading.

Rabbit Pie

‘Now, my dears,’ said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, ‘you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.’

-from The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Rabbit pie, fresh from the ovenAfter stewing the choice legs and loins of a Trowlesworthy Farms rabbit, I found myself with a lot of trim. Most notable were the forelegs, the belly-flaps from the saddle, and the kidneys. Besides this there was miscellaneous trim pulled from the carcass. I decided that this would become a rabbit pie.

Making the Recipe

A classical rabbit pie (and yes, rabbit pie is a classical preparation…), would use lean rabbit meat and … Continue reading.

Potted Pork

Digging into some cretonsSlow-cooked pork that is mixed until creamy and spreadable. It is very similar to the French rillette. Rillettes are traditionally sealed in ramekins with rendered fat. This is great for potted pork, too.  Especially in winter, as the fat looks like a skating rink once it sets, and because with the addition of a sprig of rosemary and some peppercorns, you can imitate holly.

Potted Pork

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder, diced to one inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1/2 lb smoked ham hock
  • 1 pork bone
  • 1 bundle thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 peppercorns, tied into a cheesecloth bundle
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I didn’t have whole cloves on
Continue reading.