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Feb 19, 2018
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘charcuterie’

Volpi will open a dine-in cafe on The Hill

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

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Volpi Foods retail market at 5257 Daggett Ave. on The Hill will soon offer cafe seating to enjoy the store’s famous house-made meats onsite. The new area will debut on Friday, Feb. 9.

Store manager Kimberly Cook said the space underwent an extensive renovation last year, and the in-store dining idea developed as an offshoot of that project.

“We didn’t really plan to have the cafe area,” Cook said. “We thought it might be a coffee station at first, but then we brainstormed about what we can do and what we could do new for our customers.”

The cafe area will have six seats, and a menu consisting of five different charcuterie boards, available in different serving sizes. These include Three Kings with prosciutto, culatello, speck, Parmigiano and fig jam; the Whole Hog, featuring coppa, mortadella, pancetta, genoa salame and prosciutto with crostini and dried figs; and a build-your-own option called the Blind Pig. Wine and craft beers will also be available.

Volpi’s dine-in service will be available during regular store hours: Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Volpi Foods

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Eat This: Wow Board at Annie Gunn’s

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

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We don’t know who named the Wow Board at Annie Gunn’s – the staff or the customers presented with a plank piled high with house-made charcuterie, rich cheeses and pickled vegetables, seasonal chutney and ubiquitous Irish soda bread. The dozen or so offerings change daily according to chef Lou Rook III and butcher Andrew Jennrich’s whim, from blood sausage terrine to dry-aged Kobe-style beef. Don’t pester your server for details. You’ll ruin a wow-worthy surprise

-photo by Carmen Troesser

By the Book: Jeffrey Weiss’ Chorizo infierno

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

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Jeffrey Weiss’s Charcutería: The Soul of Spain, his hagiographic cookbook devoted to the art of curing meats, makes for heady reading. A full 30 pages are devoted to the science of charcuterie, including the freshman-chemistry precepts of pH, nitrates, salts fermentation and, yes, germ theory – or rather, sidestepping its dangers.

On a lazy Friday at the Sauce office, all of this (well, except basic food safety) is simply over my head. Plus, the thought of publisher Allyson Mace’s reaction after bumping her head against curing charcuterie hanging in the Sauce kitchen is too frightening to hazard.

So as a compromise, instead of true aged charcuterie, I made Weiss’ recipe for chorizo fresco. Then, I lit it on fire.

It’s tough to make homemade sausage in St. Louis without thinking of the city’s meatpacking heritage, largely by German and Eastern European immigrants. The vestiges of the meat-processing halcyon days can still be found here and there in Soulard, where tiny meat markets do business under the hanging fumes of beer brewed down the street at Anheuser-Busch. The tedium (and gross, gaseous noises) of sausage-making pulled me out somewhat of the idyllic charcuterie fantasy created by the cookbook’s photography. It is a lovely thing to behold, assuming your hands aren’t covered in ground pork. Weiss’ encapsulation of science and cultural trivia (along with a powerful forward written by Jose Andres) make this a captivating read.

Note well: Supplies for homemade sausage can be tricky to come by. After much searching, I borrowed a KitchenAid meat grinding attachment from Salume Beddu and purchased casings from Vincent’s 12th Street Market and the pork from Don’s Meat Market in Soulard.

 

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If using a pre-smoked cut of meat (I could only come up with smoked pork jowls), cut the salt in the recipe by at least a quarter, especially if you’re sensitive to it.

 

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When grinding the pork, place all of the sausage-making supplies – cubed meat, grinding components – in the freezer for at least and hour and half beforehand. This makes the grinding much easier.

 

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What makes this true chorizo instead of just sausage is the pimenton slurry, made with dry white wine, sweet and spicy paprika and oregano. Use good Hungarian or Spanish paprika for maximum flavor.

 

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Don’t forget to soak the sausage casings in water at least 30 minutes before stuffing them. Assuming you are using one long case, slide the meat downward as you go. You can separate it into links later on.

 

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The recipe’s greatest flaw is the logistics of cooking the sausage en flambé. Lacking a terracotta dish as instructed, I instead used a nonstick skillet and Georgia corn moonshine. Expect the flames to jump about 2 to 3 feet high, and for the ethanol to burn off far more quickly than the 6 to 8 minutes called for in the recipe. (Admittedly, the corn liquor may have been too high-proof, allowing the alcohol to burn away faster.) After singeing off a good bit of my arm hair, I just pan-fried the sausages in the skillet instead.

 

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Despite the deep vermilion of the chorizo slurry, it didn’t serve to color the meat as much as expected. While the taste was there, the flavor profile reminded me more of a well-made bratwurst – not that I’m complaining. A little heavy on the salt, a little light on the spice, the proportions on this recipe may need some slight recalibration, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

 

Chorizo al Infierno
1 serving

1 chorizo fresco (recipe follows)
¼ cup (50 milliliters) orujo, aguardiente or other high-proof neutral liquor

• Warm a terra cotta or other flameproof dish over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is very hot. Using a metal skewer long enough to suspend the sausage over the terra cotta dish, impale the sausage. Remove the dish from the heat and place on a heatproof trivet.
• Place the skewered sausage over the dish and carefully pour the liquor into the dish. With a long match, set the liquor alight. Cook the sausage over the strong flame (watch your fingers, eyebrows, and other body parts) for 6 to 8 minutes, turning as needed, until the sausage is charred and cooked through. Serve hot.

Chorizo Fresco
3 to 4 loops or 6 to 8 links of sausage per 2.2 pounds

Per 2.2 lbs. (1 kg.) of the following blend of meats, cut into large cubes: 40 percent aguja (pork collar), 40 percent panceta (pork belly), and 20 percent papada (pork jowl)
¾ oz. (20 g.) whole cloves garlic, peeled and destemmed
1 oz. (25 g.) kosher salt
¼ cup (50 milliliters) dry white wine, such as a Verdejo, chilled
¼ cup (50 milliliters) water, chilled
⅓ oz. (10 g.) pimentón dulce
⅓ oz. (10 g.) pimentón picante
⅛ oz. (2 g.) dried oregano
3 Tbsp. (45 milliliter) extra virgin olive oil, for frying, divided

Optional:
2 feet (60 cm.) 1¼- to 1½-inch (32- to 36-mm.) hog casings, soaked, or more as needed
Caul fat, as needed

• Place the aguja, panceta, and papada meats and grinder parts in the freezer for 30 minutes to par-freeze before attempting to grind.
• Using a mortar and pestle, crush together the garlic and salt to form an ajosal. If desired, you can finish the ajosal in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the meats and ajosal. Toss together and set aside as you set up the grinder.
• Fill a large bowl with ice, and place a smaller bowl inside the ice-filled bowl. Grind the meat mixture once through a medium-coarse (⅜-inch) die into the smaller bowl. Be careful: The meat mixture is wet, so it may squirt and pop out of the grinder.
• In a small mixing bowl, combine the wine, water, pimentones, and oregano, making a slurry. Keep the bowl containing the slurry chilled until ready to use.
• Place the ground meats in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or you can just mix in a mixing bowl with a sturdy spoon). Begin mixing on low speed. As the mixer runs, pour the wine slurry into the bowl in a steady stream.
• Continue mixing on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the wine slurry has been fully incorporated into the mixture, a white residue forms on the sides of the bowl, and the mixture firms up. Place the bowl containing the ground meat mixture in the refrigerator to keep it cold until you are ready to stuff the sausage into casings.
• To make a prueba, in a small skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place a small piece of the meat mixture in the skillet and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

To ferment the sausages:
• If stuffing: Stuff the mixture into the casings and tie into 12-inch (30-cm.) loops or 6-inch (15-cm.) links. Using a sterile pin or sausage pricker, prick each sausage several times. Place in the refrigerator to ferment overnight.
• If not stuffing: Form the mixture into 8-ounce (226-g.) patties. Wrap in plastic wrap or caul fat, if using. Place in the refrigerator to ferment overnight.

To cook the sausages:
• If stuffing: If you have stuffed the sausages into links or loops, warm the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and fry for 8 to 10 minutes, until they register an internal temperature of 150 degrees. You can also oven roast or grill the sausages at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until they reach the same internal temperature.
• If not stuffing: Warm the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and fry the sausage patties for 8 to 10 minutes, until they register an internal temperature of 150 degrees.
• Remove the sausages from the heat and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Surry Books.

What needlessly ambitious dish(es) have you attempted in the kitchen? Tell us how it turned out in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Charcutería.

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