Up the Mountain in the Development Kitchen – Home Cured Pork

23 Mar

Ok, so I don´t really have a development kitchen and most of the actual experimentation went on in a small blue plastic bucket in my storage shed, but I have successfully cured (in brine) a piece of pork for the first time.

Even tastier than the first time I made it

You may recall a while back I showed you a recipe for Boiled Gammon. At the time I talked about the fact that it is impossible to buy it here in Andalucía but that I wanted to figure out how to make it at home.

Well, I turned to my old pal Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and he had some great information in his River Cottage Cookbook.

I started with a small piece of loin of pork that weighed 800g as I didn´t wanted to waste a large piece of meat if it all went horribly wrong.  I decided to play around a little with the flavours, amounts are flexible.


  • Pork (your choice of weight and cut)

For the brine

  • Water
  • Dark beer – 2 bottles
  • 1 kg Salt
  • Treacle or molasses – I used half a cup of Miel de Caña (or you could dissolve brown sugar in with the salt and beer)
  • Crushed black peppercorns and cloves (I used about a tablespoon full of each)

I boiled the salt with the beer and spices until it was dissolved then stirred in the molasses and added enough water to ensure the liquid would cover the meat.

The pork was put into a new (and then sterilised) bucket and covered with the brine once it had cooled completely. I had to put a plate with a weight on it to keep it from floating out of the water.  This was then left in a cool dark place for 3 days.  The recipe suggests this as a minimum period per kilo with a four day maximum period per kilo. You should note that your meat will not be a pretty pink colour like the brined hams bought in shops unless you use something like saltpeter or a chemical additive to keep the colour.  I didn´t do this, as I prefer not to.  For me, it´s all about keeping it natural and tasting great.

Pork after brining

When the required number of days have passed, drain the meat (discard the brine, it should not be reused).  Bring it to the boil in a pot of fresh water, drain it again and then cook.  I cooked it in the same way as previously, this time adding a couple of dried chillis to the stock and some celery.

When I posted the previous recipe my best friend called me to ask what the heck I had been doing serving the gammon with parsley sauce when it should have been onion sauce.  I stand corrected.

This time I made a delicious onion sauce by gently frying a medium onion in a little olive oil until it was soft and transparent. Then I added 2 tablespoons of flour and cooked it slightly then stirred in a cup of the meat cooking stock and half a cup of milk.  Add salt if it needs it (mine didn´t) and pepper and serve alongside the meat and vegetables.

Any leftovers can be made into a soup, but more of that another day…I´m off back to the Development Kitchen. We keep the wine in the shed.


59 Responses to “Up the Mountain in the Development Kitchen – Home Cured Pork”

  1. Piglet in Portugal March 23, 2012 at 09:18 #

    Just showed this recipe to Mr Piglet. e’s going to give it a try! We drove 160km yesterday to go to Iceland in the Algarve. Yes I know it’s sad, and it’s against my principles. But Mr P was yearning for some gammon, rib eye steak and pork pies.

    How much water did you use?

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 10:15 #

      Can highly recommend it! And I don´t blame you, I used to have huge cravings for English food…you find a way round it eventually or it wears off, but if you fancy something, then why not!

      • Piglet in Portugal March 23, 2012 at 11:48 #

        🙂 the other craving is christmas cake and mince pies….

        Any idea of quantity of water?

      • Piglet in Portugal March 23, 2012 at 12:13 #

        I see you’ve just commented on my blog but the link where you commented says not found.
        http://pigletinportugal.com/2011/05/22/2693-revision-16/#comment-6201 I only know because because it shows up in an email.

        This is the second time this has happened where I can’t find your comment. Please can you do me a huge favour and try and comment on my latest post. Jogo de Malha. If there is a problem i can then contact wordpress. thanks

  2. thecompletecookbook March 23, 2012 at 09:18 #

    Brilliant, you clever girl you – the brine sounds heavenly and what a magnificent result! Think I should bring my bicycle for when I come and visit – I will need to do some exercise so as not to gain too much weight!
    🙂 Mandy

  3. chaiselongue1 March 23, 2012 at 09:26 #

    This looks wonderful and, I agree, natural is definitely best. No need to use additives to get an unnatural pink colour!

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 10:18 #

      It does make you think when you see the difference between “ours” and “theirs”…a little scary!

  4. Charles March 23, 2012 at 10:19 #

    Awesome – I love boiled gammon, but the French find the idea of boiling meat so British and generally quite detestable :D. I never really thought to try making it myself, but this looks really nice and easy! Now I can have my favourite – gammon, pineapple and a fried egg 😀

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 12:00 #

      I know what you mean..I have a French pal and she won´t even eat chunky soup. It has to be broth or puréed…she doesn´t “get” the concept of meat and veg in liquid…fair enough I guess. In Italy we have the “bollito” which is boiled meat and veg and the Spanish use lots of meats in their soups with pulses so I´m surprised that it didn´t cross over into France from one or other of their neighbouring countries!

      • Charles March 23, 2012 at 14:10 #

        Bah, I find the French unbelievably arrogant about food sometimes. I went to the butcher to buy some pork for a pulled pork dish. I told them I would cook it was 10 hours and he looked at me like I was insane and said I was thinking of ham, to which I assured him that I certainly was not :p

  5. Tandy March 23, 2012 at 10:56 #

    What a huge success for your development kitchen, I must try this!

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 11:58 #

      I am tempted to buy myself a white overall and hat!

  6. Simply Tia March 23, 2012 at 11:18 #

    That looks superb. I love cured pork. Like love! Bravo Tanya. As usual your adventures leave me impressed.

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 11:58 #

      It was a little adventure and great fun checking on it each day 😉

      • DianeT March 24, 2012 at 20:29 #

        “Great fun checking on it each day.”
        Well, if the wine is kept in the shed I’m sure the temptation was irresistable.

      • Chica Andaluza March 24, 2012 at 21:12 #

        The cook always needs a little treat 😉

  7. cookinginsens March 23, 2012 at 11:36 #

    I’d really like to try your brine recipe.

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 11:57 #

      I know it doesn´t look pretty in the photo, but brining the meat really added a lovely subtle flavour and so much moisture to a simple cut of meat!

  8. Mad Dog March 23, 2012 at 11:41 #

    The Development Kitchen sounds great – curing hams and wine bar in the corner. Every home should have one 😉

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 11:57 #

      It´s like a little concrete potting shed with all sorts in it, but the wine rack is in there so we always have cool wine, even in the summer!

  9. Ann Larson March 23, 2012 at 11:43 #

    Sounds great, will have to give it a try! We have also successfully made salt beef (aka corned beef, as it’s called in the US). It is brined in a similar fashion, and is absolutely yummy!

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 13:16 #

      I love corned/salt beef so will have to put that on y list of things to try making! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  10. deairby March 23, 2012 at 12:06 #

    woohoo, you go girl!

  11. TBM March 23, 2012 at 12:11 #

    Now I know where you keep the wine! My mouth is watering…looks wonderful!

  12. ChgoJohn March 23, 2012 at 12:38 #

    Way to go, Tanya! That piece of brined pork looks incredible! I’d considered experimenting with curing meats this Spring but our weather turned so unseasonably warm that the cellar, my curing room, is no longer cool enough — and won’t be again until late next Fall. In the 30+ years I’ve lived in Chicago, this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned that it was too warm in Spring to do something. Too cold or too much snow? Yes, Too warm? Never.

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 12:41 #

      It´s the same here, I actually did this a few weeks ago when it was cooler. Temps in the “Development Kitchen” are probably around 7 or 8 degrees now during the day, although probably still ok for meat, as it would be in a brine, I´d use the fridge now. But it takes a lot of space!

  13. themateriallady March 23, 2012 at 12:52 #

    It looks delicious Tanya. Well done!

  14. gardenfreshtomatoes March 23, 2012 at 13:19 #

    Brava, Chica! I’ve wanted to try something like this for a long time, but I’m too disorganized…and Hubby might object to me using his wine cellar! 😉

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 13:44 #

      Luckily our “wine cellar” is a concrete outbuilding 😉

  15. zestybeandog March 23, 2012 at 14:44 #

    This is def something I want to try! It looks so nice!

  16. TheDorsetFinca March 23, 2012 at 19:46 #

    Congratulations on your success! I think it’s too much of a brave project for me!!! I think I’ll leave it to the experts… i.e. you! xx

    • Chica Andaluza March 24, 2012 at 09:50 #

      Ii wasn´t so tricky. The hardest part was waiting!

  17. sportsglutton March 23, 2012 at 20:48 #

    I’m a huge fan of brining meat, so much so that Liz will often ask if it is really necessary. 🙂 I always answer of course it is!!

    • Chica Andaluza March 24, 2012 at 09:52 #

      We need to see how you do it! It was a first for me, but I am converted 🙂

  18. Karen March 23, 2012 at 22:20 #

    Brining meat not only adds a nice flavor but really insures moist meat once it is cooked. I can just see you in a white overall and hat instead of one of your aprons.

    • Chica Andaluza March 24, 2012 at 09:53 #

      Can you imagine it? Actually, I did work a couple of times for clients in the food industry and I used to love the factory visits so that I could dress up in the white gear…I´m a funny one 😉

  19. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide March 23, 2012 at 23:56 #

    I wish I could share this milestone with you. Like REALLY share it with you. I’m off to Expedia.

  20. Just A Smidgen March 24, 2012 at 02:28 #

    My niece and nephew brined our turkey this Christmas and it was delicious.. I can just imagine how wonderful this tasted.. And, I would follow you back to that Development kitchen for a bit of wine!!

    • Chica Andaluza March 24, 2012 at 09:53 #

      Always room for you in the “Development Shed….urm…Kitchen!”

  21. Florence March 24, 2012 at 10:27 #

    Hi Tanya. Impressive! Great read. TFS.
    Regards Florence x

  22. island traveler March 25, 2012 at 01:33 #

    Delicious, comforting, a taste to remember. Reminds me of a similar dish in my hometown that my mom used to make. My wife cooks a similar dish too . Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes. Have a beautiful day….

    • Chica Andaluza March 25, 2012 at 10:29 #

      Thank you – glad it bought back memories! Have a wonderful day too 🙂

  23. bitsandbreadcrumbs March 25, 2012 at 04:55 #

    How clever, brining your own pork…I love it! And I think it looks like pork…the way it’s supposed to. I think I need a development kitchen now….especially one equipped with the wine!

    • Chica Andaluza March 25, 2012 at 10:31 #

      Can highly recommend the “development kitchen”…am still working on getting rid of all the tools, seeds, empty jam jars though 😉

  24. StephC March 25, 2012 at 13:21 #

    Oooh I’m going to send this to the Mr… Might keep him busy. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza March 25, 2012 at 14:59 #

      If you keep wine in the shed though he may never come out!

  25. Bluejellybeans March 25, 2012 at 15:54 #

    Hi Tanya!
    This looks so good 🙂
    Pero me da un poco de respeto lo de trabajar con carne cruda… Pero tendré que intentarlo algún día de estos.

    • Chica Andaluza March 26, 2012 at 09:54 #

      Tienes razón Giovanna – siempre hay que tener mucho cuidado trabajando con carne cruda. Ahora que han subido las temperaturas, no puedo hacerlo en el trastero…solo la nevera!

  26. ....RaeDi March 25, 2012 at 20:32 #

    Tanya, I want to try this, it looks so good and had no idea how easy it was to make! I have learned so much from your blog!

    • Chica Andaluza March 26, 2012 at 09:55 #

      You´re welcome – it was a good experiment, I know a lot of people already brine meat, but it was a first for me. Very tasty indeed!

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