Pancetta, as is Italian cured pork belly. When I spoken to someone about I am curing my own salmon and pork they though I had gone mad! If you imaged the medieval kitchen, they will have all sort of cured meat that hung around at the kitchen ceiling to drying. Unfortunately I don’t have a medieval kitchen, so I used alternate method to dry the meat. This is my first time doing it, fingers cross! I got a recipe from butcher, as I always get some advice from them about each cut of meat, he pass me a recipe for this.
I think it is easy to do, because the fresh ingredient doing the work for you. Of course it is time consuming curing process. Recently, I had studied a bit of food preservation, it is very fascinating to me, as I could understand about medieval life style and their kitchen especially during bitter cold winter, food preservation became very important at that time of the year as low supply of meat during winter, curing and preserve will help them to serving meat during cold days of winter, therefore alcohol, spices was used to keeping the meat last longer.
The reason I made this pancetta not only to get some understanding of cured meat but simply because it is too expensive to buy pancetta Malaysian, so I rather get my hands dirty instead!
I referring to Anna Del Conte’s book. She explained it as:
Exactly the same cut of meat as streaky bacon, namely the belly of the pig, but cured differently. Like streaky bacon, pancetta had layers of white fat and pink meat. There are two kinds of pancetta: pancetta tesa, which is left in its natural state, like bacon, and cured for about 20 days, and pancetta arrotolata (rolled pancetta). Pancetta arrotolata is made from very fatty pancetta, and only shows two or three streaks of lean meat. It is flavoured with cloves and pepper, rolled up, sewn and tied up. Pancetta tesa can also be smoked and is a speciality of Alto Adige, Friuli and Valle d’Aosta. Pancetta tesa is one of the most important elements in a soffritto, the starting point for so many dishes. It is the main ingredient of some pasta sauces, such as carbonara, and a component in all kinds of spiedini (kebabs), whether of meat, liver or fish. Pancetta arrotolata is eaten by itself, very thinly sliced, or with other salumi.
- Dry cure
- 60g Kosher salt
- 3tbsp black pepper, coarsely ground
- 2tbsp packed dark brown sugar
- 2tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- 2tbsp juniper berries, cracked
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1tbsp red pepper flakes or red pepper
- 4 bay leaves, crumbled
- 1tbsp minced fresh thyme
- 1tsp pink salt
- 1tsp ground nutmeg
- Pork Belly 2kg, skin removed, belly trimmed to uniform thickness and shape
- 60ml red wine
- 2tbsp pepper or white pepper, coarsely ground
- For the dry cure: Mix all ingredients together in bowl until thoroughly combined.
- For the pork belly: Place the pork belly in large glass baking dish and rub all sides and edges with dry cure mixture.
- Gently sprinkle belly with red wine, being careful to wash away as little cure as possible. Cover tightly and refrigerate until belly feels firm about 7 days, flipping and redistributing rub mixture everyday. (If after 7 days, belly still feels soft, continue refrigerating additional 1 to 2 days until it firm)
- Thoroughly rinse pancetta with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Place on counter, meat side up, with long side facing you. Sprinkle with pepper, then roll into tight cylinder and tie very tightly at half inch intervals using kitchen twine.
- Using additional kitchen twine, form loop at one end of pancetta for hanging. Hang in cool, humid place, away from sunlight, and let it dry for 2 weeks before using. Or could place the pancetta on wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered until very firm but not hard for 2 to 3 week.
Storing pancetta: Dried pancetta can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in fridge for up to 3 weeks or frozen up to 4 months.