Do you enjoy learning about local and seasonal foods? Perhaps you’d like to learn some simple techniques for curing meats or the finer points of butchering? Come learn about authentic and local cooking with your neighborhood chef, James Bell.
Chef James Bell has worked for many fine dining restaurants and resorts in Missoula and throughout Montana. James’ extensive career includes cooking at Plonk Bozeman and helping to launch Plonk Missoula as well as cooking at Scotty’s Table. He is currently a chef at A Moveable Feast Missoula.
In this lesson Chef James Bell discusses curing salt. He demonstrates salt curing by preparing a classic Italian guanciale (pork jowl) using his own recipe (below). James takes much of his curing practices from the book Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman.
Guanciale (cured pork jowl)
1-1.5 lbs. pork jowl
1 cup course sea salt or kosher salt
4 bay leaves, crushed
2 tbs peppercorns
2 tbs juniper berries
Toast peppercorns and juniper berries in a pan, then cool and crush. Mix all ingredients together. Rub the jowl liberally with the mixture and refrigerate in a tightly sealed container. A zip lock bag works well.
At this point, time is on your side. There should be some of the salt cure left. Check and dry your pork jowl daily. If the cure has dissolved add more. Let the jowl cure for up to 3 weeks.
Next is more time. You can rinse the jowl with some white wine and rub dry. Wrap the jowl in cheesecloth and dry it for up to 6 weeks, outside the refrigerator. If you have the space to hang it somewhere cool and dry, even better. Hang over a pan that can catch any remaining liquid.
Salt & Spice
James Bell explores the history of seasoning as well as a few spices of local interest or origin. He also provides expert tips on perfectly seasoning basic dishes and his own spice blend recipe.
Are you interested yet intimidated by home butchering? Maybe you’re a hunter looking to expand your culinary skill? Chef James Bell demonstrates proper butchering techniques for local water fowl and show us how to use all of the bird in a delicious duck confit. James will also provide additional recipes and suggestions for a duck-focused Thanksgiving feast.