madbaker: (Saluminati)
[personal profile] madbaker
This week's Resolution Recipe is a redo: Cured Chicken.

Every salted fowl, such as geese, cranes, wild ducks, barnyard doves and other fowl, once they are out of the brine and with the brine well washed off them, are dried in moderate smoke or in the open air. To store them for a long time after they have been hung in smoke, preserve them in oil. Fowl that are salted are used more in cool places than in warm, and in places where the meat of quadrupeds is scarce. Ortolans, fig-peckers, and other small birds, after being kept for six days in brine, are removed and put in liquified fat that contains fennel seeds, in an earthenware vessel, letting the lard congeal about the birds. Alternatively those small birds can be kept in well salted vinegar that contains garlic, cloves and crushed pepper. I have seen them done both ways, and brought from Cyprus to Venice. For best storage they must always be in a cool place. (Opera, 1570, I.10)

5 lb chicken, spatchcocked but kept otherwise whole (2280 g)
9 c water
63 g salt
31 g sugar
5.625 g curing salt #1
chopped rosemary and garlic

Mix water and seasonings to form a brine. Brine the chicken for 18-24 hours.
The next day, remove the chicken, rinse and pat dry, then hot-smoke for several hours until fully cooked. Lightly coat in oil and pack into a stoneware crock. Cover with at least 1/4" of oil and top with a waxed linen lid, secured with twine. Keep in a cool, dark place for a week or longer.

Remove the chicken, drain, and brown.

Oils specifically mentioned in Scappi are almond, olive, and walnut; olive oil is the cheapest and most widely available.
I added the curing salt #1 for safety reasons; it helps prevent botulism bacteria from forming during the curing process. I added sugar to the brine to make it consistent with modern brine recipes.

Scappi, Bartolomeo, and Terence Scully. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570): L'arte Et Prudenza D'un Maestro Cuoco. Toronto: University of Toronto, 2008. Print. ISBN 978-0-8010-9624-1.
Marianski, Stanley, and Adam Marianski. Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages. Seminole, FL: Bookmagic, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9824267-3-9.

What worked: Last time I did this onsite, which was awesome for the snottiness factor but didn't actually work that well as it wasn't smoked before potting up. This time I did everything ahead at home and just browned onsite. I took some inspiration from Ethan Taylor's redaction but simplified the process (e.g. straight brine on raw whole chicken).

Still not as good as the quail ham, but I expected that with using oil instead of fennel-infused duck fat. It was a very good tourney dinner that was incredibly easy. I took it to the event and browned it in a skillet and poof!

The meat was rich from the confit, the skin crisped up beautifully, and because we had hot-smoked over a fair amount of sawdust it had a lovely smoky flavor. It was also appealing as I kept it in large pieces on the bone for presentation. Spatchcocking both reduced the cooking time and made it easier to fit in the crock in one piece.

What didn't: I think Crystal was right -- we like smoky meat because we don't cook that way all the time. They didn't have that option so they often spoke of how to remove smoke flavor. The serving manuals indicate that meat should be cut up into small bites for ease of eating rather than serving semi-whole. (Crystal said jokingly that I was serving it as if we were peasants. True though.)

Will I make it again? I suspect this will be a regular rotation favorite. Heck, I'd try this at home for a weekend meal.

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