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Coppa hails from the front shoulder of the pig, it has been called capocollo, coppa, or even pronounced in capicola, coppa is how we will refer to it here. This piece of meat comes from the front shoulder of the pig, in most cases this cut is a perfect balance of meat and fat. To achieve this cut it is best to talk to your local butcher and ask for the cut for making coppa, if that fails, which it has for me, then tell them you want a boned out pork shoulder/pork butt. Why is it called pork butt when it comes from the front of the animal? This is why: Some pork cuts (not those highly valued, or “high on the hog,” like loin and ham) were packed into casks or barrels, known as butts, for storage and shipment. The way the hog shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known in other regions as “Boston Butt.” Once you have the shoulder boned out it should look like this:
Now that you have the piece of shoulder it is time for the cure. A standard cure would consist of salt and pink salt, then it would be rubbed with a spicy red pepper before being put into casings. I tend to mix it up every time I make it so the recipe below is called Pancetta/ish coppa. I keep the mix of curing salt on hand and just pull what I need when I need it, my curing salt mix is as follows;
1# Kosher Salt
2oz Pink Salt/Cure #1
2C Curing salt mix
2T Black Peppercorns
3T Fennel Seed
1t Fresh ground nutmeg
1t Whole juniper berries
Two Weeks Later
The two weeks may be up but there is still another month to go. Once out of the fridge remove from the package, you will notice that it is significantly firmer, this is good. You have now remove moisture from the meat and replaced it with the tasty cure. Brush the cure off with a clean paintbrush or a towel. We now want to create a brine to dip the meat in to “sanitize” it and prevent any unwanted mold from growing on it. This step may be skipped and have found that it is not always necessary.
Sanitizing Dip Yield: 1qt
22.4 floz Water
9.6 floz Distilled White Vinegar
Once the coppa has been cleaned you can now grind about 1/2 a cup of black pepper. Put the pepper in a large pan that can also hold the coppa, and roll the meat in the pepper. Weigh the coppa and record this on a piece of tape with the date attached to the string you are hanging it from. Hang in your larder at 55°F and between 60%-65% humidity for about one month.
After one month:
So it has been about a month and a half to actually cure this piece of meat because of the unusual amount of rain that we have been getting here in Central Oregon. Since my curing room is outside , the humidity was a little harder to control and was usually around 73% for the duration of the drying. Periodically through this month and a half, I checked the weight of the coppa, usually once a week and record the loss. Once you have reached 35% loss in weight, your coppa is finished, if it has not, then let it continue to hang until it has, again it could take two months or more depending on humidity. The longer that it hangs the more fermented it will begin to taste. Prosciutto and culatello are good examples of meat that take longer to age but obtain a nice flavor.
The coppa should feel firm once it has lost the proper amount of water weight. At this point you can remove the string and brush off the black pepper, place the coppa in the fridge overnight to harden up and make it easier to slice.
Now that the long wait is over slice the coppa as thin as possible sit back and enjoy with a little olive oil.
Another pâté to add to the collection, this one has some seasonality to it with the huckleberries. Fresh huckleberries have been popping up in the past few weeks and they are delicious. You can certainly use frozen huckleberries from the previous season or buy a bundle and freeze them yourself for future culinary endeavors.
I used the same base recipe from previous pâté ventures, but I made some small changes. The biggest change was the protein, we had a mass amount of pigs this summer, therefore, the protein was changed to pork. The pork that I had was very lean so I added some chilled pork fat. The liver will remain as duck, and the same general spices will be used. The addition of lobster mushroom powder will add some earthiness, not that it needs a lot more, and the huckleberries add a nice savory fruit note that can mellow the salt quite a bit. The last item that was added were hazelnuts, we recently started buying hazelnuts from a local roaster in Eugene, OR by the name of Evonuk Oregon Hazelnuts. They deal mostly in wholesale but their products are not to be passed up. Their hazelnuts are carefully picked and are very consistent, they have a very nice floral note that I have never tasted in a hazelnut.
Pork Pâté with Hazelnuts and Huckleberries
2.75# Pork shoulder
5.55oz Duck Liver
1.5oz Pork Fat
1/2C Diced White Onion
2T Chopped Garlic
1.4t Black Pepper
.6t Pâté Spice
2.75T AP Flour
1T Lobster Mushroom Powder (we made this after our first large shipment of lobster mushrooms, any type of mushroom powder will work.)
2C Fresh Huckleberries
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