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Fundamentals of Charcuterie – The Final Cure!

Turkey Pastrami

It’s amazing how fast the month of June has gone by. I shouldn’t be surprised, as I took a charcuterie class at Saint Paul College. It was held Monday through Thursday, from 6:00p – 9:00p, for the first 4 weeks of June.

Part of the final week included a couple of projects for each team. These included a preparation for pork belly. Each team was also given a “Black Box” of ingredients.

[1]Seafood Sausage

Our team used the pork belly in two preparations. For the first preparation, we cut the belly into 1 x 3 inch pieces, placed it in an oven proof pan, tucked black peppercorns, thyme sprigs and bay leaves in around the pork, and covered it with warm duck fat. Then it was cooked, covered for about 2 1/2 hours at 275 degrees. After it was cooked, it rested under refrigeration overnight. The next day, I deep fried it in canola oil and served it with a grainy mustard and a dollop of orange marmalade. It was absolutely delicious!

Our “Black Box” of ingredients included a veal tenderloin, a rabbit and sweetbreads. We cured the tenderloin and rabbit, then cooked the rabbit the same way as we cooked the pork belly, in duck fat.Rabbit and Veal Terrine, Pickled Summer Squash, a Bretonne-Style Terrine.

We layered a terrine mold with the remaining bacon. Then, using the other ingredients, we fabricated a layered terrine. It also included dried figs and apricots that had been reconstituted in Sauternes. For a first attempt using rabbit and sweetbreads, it turned out quite good I think.

Overall, the class was a tremendous experience. I would recommend anyone who has an interest in charcuterie to sign up for the class next year, as Chef Sartin is planning on offering it again.

The school is also kicking around the idea of offering a couple of week-long classes with topics including Pasta Making and Fabricating Pastries and Sweet Breads. I’ll be the first to sign up for one or both of these classes next summer as I had such a great experience.

Smoked Pheasant Crostini

This fall, the restaurant associated with the culinary school will be open again to the public. Running this restaurant offers students a hands-on experience in both the back and front of the house. Chef Sartin will let me know when the restaurant opens and the hours of operation. I’ll pass on the information via my blog as soon as I get it.