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Whole Coppa Ham rf

This can be a very exciting but tiring time of year for a lot of food industry professionals, as trade shows are in abundance. In the last month I’ve attended the Lunch! Show, Speciality Fine Food Show, the Restaurant Show and Anuga in Cologne. I love getting out and seeing what’s new in the food industry, sourcing new innovations as well as revisiting some of the old favourites at the shows. This year’s National Chef of the Year 2013 was a particular nail biter at the Restaurant Show, with BaxterStorey’s Hayden Groves taking the title.

What has struck me on this year’s circuit is the quality of charcuterie being presented by suppliers. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a big fan of authentic charcuterie and not just the Italian variety, as you may have thought. If the trade shows are anything to go by, British charcuterie is coming into its own right now, with a revival of long lost traditional methods of curing being brought to the forefront of meat preparation.

Britain has an ancient curing history that has varied from region to region over time, with many techniques unique to the UK. These, regional, age old curing methods are often steeped in generations of local family heritage. At Leathams we have joined forces with premium British charcuterie brand Woodall’s as their main distributor. The Woodall’s range has developed from generations of master curers and traditional recipes, as you can imagine this is an exciting prospect for a charcuterie lover like me and I look forward to tasting these amazing products with many of you over the coming weeks and months.

In celebration of this great forgotten British tradition, I have put together an overview of some of the regional British curing recipes and methods, I think this is a great example of just how special and diverse the UK’s rich curing tradition is.

Oxfordshire beer and juniper cure – (Ingredients: Ham, brown sugar, bay salt, beer, juniper berries, saltpetre)

Boil all ingredients (excluding the ham) and let cool, then douse then ham with the pickle. Rub every few days for a month, then take remove from pickle and hang until dry.

Devonshire cure – (Ingredients: Ham, bay salt, saltpetre)

Dissolve the ingredients in water (excluding the ham), place the ham in a pot and pour over the cooled brine. After 6 weeks, dry the ham thoroughly and place in muslin bags, storing in malt dust or wood ash or if possible, hang in the chimney of an open fire for two weeks.

Northamptonshire method – (Ingredients: Ham, salt, saltpetre, pepper, treacle)

Rub the ham well with salt then leave for 24 hours. Wipe the ham dry then rub in saltpetre. Mix together the salt and pepper and rub into the ham each morning for 3 days. Baste with treacle and turn the ham each day for a month. Once done, drain for 24 hours and hang in a cool dry place until dry, then put into muslin bags and hang for at least 3 months.