At this point in The Year in Meat, Challenge #11, we all deserve an “Attaboy” and here is Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan to give us an amazing one from their project, The Goat Rodeo Sessions. There’s no way to go wrong with these guys! Unbelievable!
Never one to adhere to the KISS principle, I decided to make pepperoni, coppa and bresaola for our curing challenge. It sounded like a good combination: one was ground and fermented, one used large chunks stuffed in a casing, one was a whole cut and they all needed attention at different times. After buying all of the meat and ordering some beef middles and starter culture, it became obvious that, once again, I was a little too ambitious so the pepperoni will have to be be a project for the future.
First, let me get my griping over. I’m usually pretty thorough about doing my research but I dropped the ball and relied solely on Charcuterie because these techniques seemed pretty straight forward. Unfortunately, this is the only time that Ruhlman & Polcyn have let me down and I’m as much to blame as they are because I didn’t double-check the facts.
After spending a couple of hours trimming a pork butt (not to mention the cost of the meat and the price the pig paid) as instructed for coppa and getting it started curing, I discovered that it wasn’t coppa at all. I found several descriptions of what authentic coppa is and the most informative was on Jason Molinari’s Cured Meats blog. He clearly illustrates where the muscle is and how to harvest it from a whole shoulder. Since I couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together, I decided to continue with the Charcuterie method and hope for the best. I figured it would still taste good but I have no idea what to call it! What’s up with that?!?
OK, time to move on to the next problem. The small refrigerator I planned on using as a curing chamber wouldn’t get warmer than 47° so I resorted to using the closet in the extra bedroom. Unfortunately, our beautiful fall weather turned hot and humid a few days after I hung the bresaola and “coppa” to dry. My husband donated a hygrometer from one of his guitar cases and I stuck a thermometer in the room so I could obsessively monitor both temp and humidity. This was probably the only house in middle Tennessee that had the A/C set at 70° in early November! Thankfully, the house stayed pretty cool but the humidity was a problem so I stayed on mold patrol for the duration. There was a little white mold but no green or black fur so I just wiped everything down with a little brine just to be on the safe side and all seemed to be fine.
As I’ve already mentioned, I’m not a big adherent to the KISS principle so why do one flavor of pseudo-coppa when you can do two? The seasonings for the sweet coppa sounded delicious but I can’t pass up a chance to spice things up so I divided the meat in half and did both.
Here is my second gripe with this recipe: I barely had enough seasoning for half of the meat so if I hadn’t divided it in two, I would have had to make a second batch of seasoning and that’s just annoying!
Now for the fun part; time to put it all together to make some cohesive yumminess! I had a nice wedge of Kenny’s St. Jerome and a rosemary Asiago that I was saving for the unveiling but I wanted some new and different condiments to make the celebration complete. Since both of my cured meats were Italian, it only made sense to try some mostarda and my new favorite condiment, Tomato Jam from foodinjars.com. This stuff is addictive and oh, oh, oh so delicious! Everyone’s first response is that it sounds kinda odd but after they taste it, they just want to know where they can get more. Mostarda is an Italian condiment made from candied fruit in a mustard flavored syrup. I thought that it, also, sounded kinda odd but very intriguing. I decided on the pumpkin mostarda from La Cucina Italiana. It fit with the season, with the ingredients I had on hand plus it was easy to make and pretty. Last, but not least, is Figgy Lemon Chutney from Grow and Resist via Tigress that I have wanted to make for months but I had to wait until I got my annual shipment of Meyer lemons from my Dad.
So, to put it all together…
Well, I was right and it is delicious but when someone asks what it is, I have to explain what coppa is then explain that what I made isn’t that but it was supposed to be. The best answer so far is to just give them a bite and let them enjoy it.