Welcome to the July 2016 Value-Added Meat CSA Share! You might be unfamiliar with some of the items or maybe need some recipe suggestions, so please read below…
What is Confit
Sounds fancy right? Well as it turns out, it is just another way of preparing duck, chicken or other kinds of meat. All it really means is poaching meat in rendered fat at a low temperature for an extended period of time. The meat is seasoned and salted and then stored in the refrigerator for a day or more. Then the meat is rinsed and cooked in the rendered fat for several hours at a low temperature. The meat must be submerged in fat during the cooking process. This method tenderizes potentially tough pieces of meat, like legs, and adds delicious flavor without being greasy. After cooking the meat is removed and the fat is strained. And then the meat is poured back over the meat and it is usually stored for several weeks before serving. Before modern refrigeration meat like this could be kept for months if entirely sealed in the fat The following items are all related to the confit process, heritage hen confit, duck confit tid-bits, rillettes, confit fat and jelly. Read below for some prep tips, all part of our value-added meat CSA!
Heritage Hen Confit
What we have here is five-year-old chicken, cooked in the confit process. Yep, you read that right, five-year-old chicken, compare that to the typical chicken which is 6-8 weeks old. We culled some of our oldest layers for this. The flavor is outstanding and it is not tough at all. This is a very unique product we made – I don’t think you will find it anywhere else.
To prepare the Heritage Hen Confit, thaw it in your refrigerator, take the meat out the bag and reserve the fat for later use. Put the meat, skin side down, in an oven proof skillet. Carefully pan fry the meat skin side down, till crispy and finish in the oven if needed or place the meat on a baking tray, skin side up and bake till the skin is crispy at 425 degrees. You want the skin to get crispy, oh my gosh that is so tasty!
Duck Confit Tid-Bits
These tid-bits really exemplify our whole-animal processing but not wasting any of the duck meat. During the process of cooking the confit some of the meat falls from the bone. Also there are bits of meat taken from the back and parts of the carcass of the duck that were also cooked in the confit process. To serve the duck confit tid -bits allow the jar to warm up a bit at room temperature. Remove the meat and reserve the fat for later use. The meat can be gently heated by sautéing in a skillet. Serve on a bed of lettuce as a salad, tossed with pasta, as a topping for cooked greens or other vegetables. You can probably come up with some more ideas too for these tasty morsels of duck.
This is a delicious spread made of duck and chicken confit tid-bits. It is mixed with some of the confit fat and jelly and seasonings; combined well in the food processor and stored with a cap of fat. It has been frozen to ensure freshness. To serve, allow to thaw in the refrigerator, remove the fat cap and reserve that for later use. Spread the meat on crusty bread and enjoy with lunch or as an appetizer.
The confit fat is a combination of duck and pork fat. It is perfect for frying potatoes, sauteing onions, etc. Because this is the fat the duck and chicken were cooked in, it has been infused with the delicious flavors of those meats.
Maple Smoked Bacon – bacon comparison with first delivery
We are proud of this bacon, it was cured with our maple syrup produced right here at Hillside Homestead. After its curing process was completed, we hickory smoked it. This batch of bacon was cured longer than the April batch and will have a stronger ‘bacon’ taste. It has not been sliced, which gives you the opportunity to slice it thick or think or to dice it, etc.
Maple Smoked Bacon Tid-Bits
When we packed up the bacon in the vacuum bag we had to do some trimming. So we took those trimmings and diced them for these tid-bits. Talk about convenience! You could fry up these tid-bits as a topping for salad, potatoes, polenta (which is sort of like corn mush in my world). Or you could make wilted lettuce, an historic way of making a lettuce salad with a woefully bad name. This is what you do….. take the tid-bits and slowly cook them till they are crisp. Remove them from the pan. Have your lettuce ready in a big bowl (of course, you can add carrots, radishes, etc). Now put the bacon fat on the stove and get it hot, just till it starts smoking. Then add some vinegar, I like to use the Sicilian Lemon Balsamic from Fustini’s. It will sizzle and pop when you pour it in. Stir it around some and then take it off the heat. Pour it while its hot on to the lettuce. Season with salt and pepper, also nice with hard boiled egg slices.
After the lard is rendered there are bits of pork leftover that just will not render/melt. These are the cracklin, they are actually the tissue called fascia. They come packed in a jar with some lard. I like to extract them from the jar and and sprinkle them in a pre-warmed cast iron frying pan. Let them warm up slowly, salt them generously, and then crisp them in the pan. I like them very crispy! They can be eaten as is for a snack, sprinkled on salad, with cooked vegetables, or added to soup. Or you can make cracklin’ corn bread. Follow the instructions above, but don’t let them get too crispy. Leave them in the cast iron frying pan. Make sure some of the lard has coated the bottom and sides of the pan. The lard and cracklin’ is what greases the pan. Mix up some corn bread batter and pour it on top of the cracklin’ and bake in the oven. Let cool for just a few minutes, slice it and serve it hot from the pan.
Country Pate with Pistachios! This is fully cooked and ready-to-eat. Try it cold with pickles, cheese, a dab of mustard and crusty bread. Or serve it with fresh fruit or maybe a fruit compote made with dried fruit. You can even make a sandwich with it! Ingredients include: ground pork, cream, onion, garlic, white wine, parsley, pistachios, spices.