Monday, January 31, 2011

a year of meat...the challenge

The blogoshpere is buzzing with a new contest/challenge for all those brave enough to jump on board and learn how to preserve meat,  formally called Charcuterie pronounced shahr-koo-tuh-ree  which is the art and science of making cooked meat preparations (preserving in salt),  usually with a special emphasis on pork.  

The challenge is aptly called "Charcutepalooza" quite a mouth full, but fun to say none the less.  It is a  group of maniacally dedicated food-bloggers across the world currently engaged in a 12-month charcuterie making, salting, curing, cooking and writing contest.

The co-creators of this challenge are Cathy Barrow (Mrs.Wheelbarrows Kitchen) and Kim Foster (The Yummy Mummy). The grand prize for the challenge is a trip to Paris from the folks at Trufflepig Travel.  The winner will enjoy a week in Paris where you’ll be wined and dined, taken on guided tours of the markets, introduced to fromagieres, and truffle sellers.

The winner will also enjoy 5-days at the Kitchen at Camont in Gascony to sit under the tutelage of Kate Hill for one of her week long butchering classes.  Learning about charcuterie where many say the craft was first perfected.

The numbers of bloggers (180 and counting) are signed on to tackle a recipe each month, from Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s 2005 "Charcuterie:The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing"  This is the book that Barrow chose as a reference guide for methodology and technique.  But because of all of the crazy press this contest is getting Michael Ruhlman along with chef Bob del Grosso, a former instructor at the Culinary Institute of America have offered to come along side the challenge to help facilitate any questions or comments as they arise.  As well as be two of the judges for the winner of the contest.

D'Artagnan, a specialty food purveyor has signed on to offer a special discount for the project participants through use of a secret promotional code sent out on the 15th of each month. D’Artagnan is dedicated to procuring the best from small farms that support humane and sustainable farming practices and never use antibiotic or hormones.

The challenge for the month of February is pancetta or quanciale. If you would like to join in and try your hand at curing up some pork belly just pick up the book Charcuterie or go to Michael Ruhlmans' blog site and follow his recipe there.  So with the Charcuterie book ordered and in transit from Amazon, the secret code acquired for D’Artagnan (Thanks Cathy!) on getting the discounts for the meat products I’m ready to get started.  Pork belly here I come!

Better late than never.


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