Charcutepalooza Challenge Number the 11th.
Ok first the story about the chorizo. I was quite nervous. You know that thing when you use the internet to self diagnose a potential illness? Well that, but with sausage. Terrified I was, of all the strange moulds and most of all the potential threat of botulism which can be lethal and like a ninja remains undetected until it is too late.
Little did I know that pernicious microflora were to be the least of my worries.
I knew I wanted to make Chorizo. Of course I did, who wouldn’t? I love Paprika. It comes in very pretty tins and is the colour of the red earth of Africa.
Ok, so I won’t repeat the process, but sossidge was made, and by a stroke of luck we have a larder which has ideal curing conditions – the humidity and temperature both pretty near perfect. Humidity went up to about 71% and temp down to about 17°C.
Cool, so now what? The most BORING word in any language ever: Wait. I hate this word.
I am quite good at waiting for things, having spent a lot of time being poor. But that doesn’t mean I like it. Grrr. It makes me spit and hiss.
But what can you do? On the bright side I suppose its about the only time in my life I’ve had to check and squeeze sausage on a daily basis (Oo-er missus).
Daily inspections caused much worry and speculation about spots of mould, so I baptized my chorizo in vinegar every few days just to be sure.
Apparently this is good mould (white, ashy) I worried it was orange mould, but in the end Twitter helped me decide that it was white mould coloured by the Paprika
Here is a spot or two of bad hairy green mould
So fast forward about 5 weeks, and I finally decided to take my life into my hands. I cut a very small sliver of the Chorizo. This photo isn’t very exciting, but at the time I thought it might be the last one I ever took before Botulism claimed me forever, so I’m showing it to you anyway.
Four hours later I was still alive, so I had a another slice. Over the course of 24 hours of ‘testing’ I couldn’t say for sure just how much Chorizo was consumed, but I can say that I felt pretty confident that no one would die poisoned from eating it.
My chorizo had been eaten by mice in the night. They also left me a parting gift of poo.
Now I know I should have thrown it out, and I would recommend anyone reading this to do as I say, not as I do. But… but I just couldn’t chuck it all out (I did throw the whole poo sausage out though). Instead I got out some gloves and some anti-bacterial wipes.
Then I judiciously cut away all the chewed bits and I peeled the skin off each Chorizo, cleaning like a maniac in-between each rescue session. I managed to save about a 1/8th of it – mostly the bits lower down in the bag where the mice didn’t get to.
Even then I knew I had to cook it to kill any potential remaining bacteria. Yeah, I know. Risky. Anyhoo, I sliced it and fried it. I served it with apples (peeled, chopped, quickly cooked in a cider reduction), and a liability disclaimer. The flavour was really good, but the texture was a bit leathery. To my knowledge everyone who partook of this snack is still alive and in good health.
Here is a rather rubbish photo of the Chorizo apple bites.
So will I make Chorizo again? To that I can only say “We better call the calling off off.” Of course I will. It’s, like, the best thing ever.
And next time I can assure you I won’t be googling ‘cured meat mould disease’ or ‘mouse poo batcerial illnesses’.
Now then, I also want to tell you all about the beautiful Bresaola, the Biltong, the Droëwors and most of all I want to tell you about the Lardo I made using Iberico back fat. But I’d like to give each of those things the space and time to tell their own story so a few photos will have to entertain you until I have the time to do each one the justice of their own blog post.
Biltong and Duck prosciutto
A special prize* for guessing which photo was taken whilst under the influence of Gin