With the pork belly and rutabaga mostarda out of the way, I spent the rest of the evening preparing the pork leg and shoulder confit.
I gathered my ingredients: two baby pork legs, two baby pork shoulders, sixty grams of crushed garlic cloves, twenty grams of black peppercorns, four grams of bay leaves, four grams of thyme sprigs, six grams of juniper berries, and eight grams of coriander seeds.
To make the cure for the pork, I mixed the herbs and spices with three kilograms (that’s right, three kilos) of kosher salt.
I added about a third of the cure to the bottom of a plastic container, layered the legs and shoulders on top, then covered the meat with the rest of the cure.
I covered the container and refrigerated it for eight hours overnight.
The next morning I removed the legs and shoulders and rinsed off the cure. You can see that the skin has tightened up and changed color.
I transferred the cure to a strainer and set it under warm running water to dissolve the salt, leaving the herbs and spices behind, which I separated.
Keller has a complicated technique for making herb sachets from plastic wrap, but I just divided everything evenly into four Japanese tea infusion bags.
I placed the legs and shoulders into separate sous vide bags, added a sachet and 250 grams of lard (from the Belm Utility Research Kitchen Deep Storage Facility), and vacuum sealed each one.
I cooked the bags for eight hours at 80 °C in a water bath.
After a fifteen minute rest at room temperature, I removed the skin from each shoulder and leg, keeping it in one piece. The pieces were irregularly shaped and had blue USDA stamps on them, so I reserved them for another use.
I cut the meat along the line of the interior bone and deboned each piece, working again to keep each in one piece.
I lined a baking pan with parchment paper and fit the meat into it in a single layer.
I covered the meat with more parchment, then a cutting board that just fit int the pan, and topped the assembly with two bricks. I refrigerated the pan overnight, during which time the meat would compress.
The next day (that’s day three if you’re counting) I cut out a dozen one and one-quarter inch squares of chilled confit. I cut the pork belly skin into inch and a half squares, laid it out next to the confit, and prepared some pork caul fat by soaking it in water and then stretching it out.
I placed a square of confit on a piece of the skin, then wrapped it all in a four inch square piece of the caul fat. The result was twelve little confit packages, which you can see at the beginning of this post. Those were returned to the fridge until final preparation for plating.
Another component down, with even more difficult bits to go.
Baby pork legs and shoulders, caul fat: Savenor’s