Up the Mountain in the Development Kitchen – Home Cured Pork

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.

Ingredients

  • 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.

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59 thoughts on “Up the Mountain in the Development Kitchen – Home Cured Pork

  1. 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?

    1. 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!

  2. 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. 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 😀

    1. 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!

      1. 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

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

    1. 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!

  6. 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.

    1. 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 😉

  7. 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!!

  8. 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….

  9. 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!

    1. 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!

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