Smokey duck prosciutto – Cured in Berry flavored salt
Having overwon my fear for dry aging opens a new world of possibilities! When looking at the feedback on the homemade bacon recipe I recently shared I feel you think the same! So here we are with a new “Charcuterie” project you can easily make at home! The Smokey Duck Prosciutto cure in a homemade salt mixture flavored with black- and cranberries. Another festive recipe you don’t want to miss!
Disclosure: “This post contains affiliate links. All opionions shared are my own. Once again this post has been made possible by the service of Carmans who offered their meat for this project”
In the world of charcuterie Prosciutto can be considered as the top of the bill. Instead of cooking, the ham is cured and dried for a long period. Leading to a delicate, tasteful piece of meat that bursts with flavors. The name is derived from the original italian name for this process: “Prosciugare” (literally translated: “To dry thoroughly”). For the traditional Prosciutto aging times can variate from 9 months up to 2 year. Luckily for you this smokey duck prosciutto needs no more than a couple of weeks to cure and dry since they are a lot smaller than the thigh or leg of a pig. Making it even possible to do the aging in your fridge where you have a cold humid climate with enough airflow to create the ideal circumstances for dry aging.
Smokey duck prosciutto?
So what’s about the smokey duck prosciutto? Since cooking is a process of inspiration the traditional prosciutto inspired some cooks to try the technique on different pieces of meat. I don’t know who was the first to try the duck prosciutto but if he might be reading this: “Thank you very much, you are a mastermind!!”. It’s one of those bucketlist projects that took me to long before I finally gave it a try. Luckily two pieces of “Magret de Canard” were offered to me by Carmans for this project. By curing the cleaned duck breast (Magret) in a flavored salt cure for a couple of days (4-5) and cold smoking it afterwards, you can use a Cold smoke generator for this, you kill the harmfull bacteries to make the duck breast safe for the aging process. This is actually how meat was preserved long before fridges were invented. However I wouldn’t dare for the moment to dry age the meat outside, that’s exactly how it was done in that era.
Berry flavored salt cure
When making your own salt cure you can add the taste you want. Traditional prosciutto is made with juniper berries, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and nutmeg. For this recipe however I twisted the ingredients a little bit in orde to get a sweet fruity tasting smokey duck prosciutto with a punch of green herbs. I picked some blackberries and cranberries to add the fruity notes. They tend to go well with duck breast so why not? And to be honest. The result is awesome. Yet I had some fear when I opened the Cheesecloth and noticed the surface of my duck breast was completely black. The smokey duck prosciutto appears to be a tad darker yet it’s packed full of flavors. After all that’s more important than the looks isn’t it?
With the recipe instructions below you should be able to make the recipe for this smokey duck prosciutto. If you’d like to know why you are doing the things I suggest and see some other options, you might want to take a look at this post on the dry aged bacon I posted some weeks ago. I explained the steps over there but don’t hesitate to ask questions if needed. Probably it will lead to us going both on a search for the answer but that’s how I like it. If you’d like to know what to eat with the smokey duck prosciutto, I would recommend to first try it thinly sliced on a slightly buttered toast. I bet you will taste heaven and would go to hell to be able to eat more of it! You can also put it on a toast with a mango salsa, berry jam, … sweets goes well along the smokey duck prosciutto. You can also add it to a nice salad or a decadent pizza. But after all: thinly sliced on a toast with butter will be your favorite.
Thanks a lot for sticking around an taking the time to read this post! Probably you might have some suggestions for future projects! Actually I’m looking for a cool and inspiring cookbook to add on my wishlist for the holidays. If you have any suggestions please let me know! In fact if you have any questions or suggestions at all, I would be more than happy to read about it on social media! To support this blog you can spread the word! Tell your friends and family where you can find these smokey projects and make them follow the blog in one way or another (don’t use violence it will stress the cattle and spoil the meat).
Dry aged smokey duck prosciutto is a real delicacy. Yet it’s a bit on the priced side! So why don’t you try and make your own? Like mostly it’s easier than you would even think it could be. Take a look at this recipe for a step by step process from curing to dry aging.
- 1 piece duck breast (+-350 gr.)
- 14 gr. Nitrite salt at least 4 % of the meat wheight
- 7 gr. dark sugar
- 4 gr. rosemary
- 2 gr. fresh sage
- 2 gr. ground juniper berries
- 3 pieces crushed blackberry
- 3 pieces crushed cranberry
- 1 vacuum sealer
- 1 vacuum bag
- 1 cheese cloth
- kitchen rope
- 1 cold smoke generator
- Hickory smoke dust
Mix all cure ingredients! You can experiment with the flavors by adding or mixing in different spices. However you must keep at least 3-4 procent of the total meat weight in nitrite salt.
Rub the duck breast thoroughly with the salt cure and add it to a vacuum bag. Make sure all of the salt is in the bag!
Vacuum seal the bag with a foodsaver and put in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Remove the duck breast from the bag and pat it dry. Now you’re ready to smoke
Gently stuff the cold smoke generator with extra fine hickory smoke dust. Don’t push it too hard or it will die out.
Lit the cold smoker using a blow torch and once it’s smoking add your cured duck breast to the smoker. Smoke for 10 hours (or more). Warning: make sure the temperature doesn’t cross the 25°C/77°F limit.
Once smoked remove the homemade smoked duck breast from your smoker. Wrap it in a clean cheese cloth and tie it up with kitchen rope.
Hang the homemade duck breast in the fridge for dry aging. You need to lose 30% of weight before it’s ready to serve (in this case it’s done when you’re left with a piece of homemade bacon that weighs 245 gr.). In this process the meat juices are evaporated causing the weight loss and intensifying the flavor!