Brine With Recipes

Brine

This amount of brine is enough for 4 pounds of pork.

1 1/2 cups salt
2 quarts water
1/4 cup white or brown sugar
2 tblsp juniper berries
8 to 10 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
2 blades mace
4 or 5 sprigs thyme

In a heavy pot, bring the water to a boil with the salt and sugar. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and put in the pot a cheesecloth bag containing the remaining ingredients. Allow the brine to cool completely before removing the cheesecloth bag of aromatics.

Bathing Meat in Brine

Preparing the brine

Fill a large pan with cold water. Use a muslin or cheesecloth to wrap spice and herbs; in this case juniper berries, cloves, thyme, bay leaves and mace. Drop the bag into the water. Pour in salt and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Skim off any scum. Take the pan off the heat when the salt and sugar dissloves.

Submerging the Pork

Cool the brine. With a butcher’s needle, pierce the meat (a Boston Shoulder is used here) 1/4 inch deep in several places to help the brine penetrate it. Put the meat in a deep crock or pan. Remove the wrapped seasonings from the brine and discard them. Pour the cold brine over the pork.

Weighting the Pork

Tp prevent the pork from floating to the surface, place a plate on top of it. Weight the plate with a stone or a ceramic or a glass filled preserving jar; a metal weight would react with the brine. Check that the meat is completly submerged, then cover the pot. Foil can be used to cover the pot if you cannot use a lid.

Brining the Pork

Put the pot in the refrigerator and let the pork steep in the brine for at least 3 days. For stronger flavor, brine the pork for up to 9 days per inch of thickness, stirring with a wooden spoon every 3 days. When the is salted to your taste, lift it from the pot and rinse it in a bowl of cold water.

Salt Pork and Peas Pudding

Parboiling

Immerse presoaked salted pork (a Boston Shoulder here) in water and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the pork, rinse the pot and return the pork. Add fresh water, a carrot and a clove studded onion. Simmer for 20 minutes a pound or until the internal temperature reaches 165° to 170°F.

Cooking the Peas

Ingredients

1 cup dried split peas, soaked in water for one hour
2 tblsp butter
1 egg, beaten
flour

In another pot, place aromatic vegetables, here an onion and a carrot and a bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and a bay leaf. Add presoaked split peas, cover them generously with cold water, bring to a simmer and cook gently for one hour until the peas are tender.

Puréeing the Peas

Drain the split peas and discard the aromatic vegetables and the bouquet garni. Press the peas through a food mill into a large bowl to make a stiff purée, or mash them until smooth with a food masher, electric mixer of food processor.

Mixing the Pudding

Let the purée cool until the peas are barely warm to the touch. Then add butter and an egg; the peas should be warm enough to melt the butter, but not so hot that the egg begins to cook and seperate into lumps. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly.

Molding the Pudding

Spread a doubled layer of dampened cheesecloth on a work surface. Sift flour onto the cloth and rub the flour over the cloth to form a coating that will not leak. Spoon the pease-pudding mixture onto the center of the cloth and smooth it’s surface. Gather the cloth over the pudding and tie the corners together.

Poaching the Pudding

An hour before the pork is done, add the pease pudding to the pot. Set the pudding on the meat so that it is submerged in liquid but can easily be lifted out. Replace the lid, setting it slightly ajar, and continue to simmer the pork for the remaining cooking time.

Unmolding the Pudding

Lift the pudding from the pot, supporting it with 2 large spoons and place it in a colander to drain for 5 minutes. Cut the string to untie the cheesecloth. Invert a plate over the pudding and steadying the pudding with your hand, turn plate and pudding over together. Gently peel off the cheesecloth.

Serving

Remove the pork shoulder from the pot. Steady the meat with a fork and bone it. Slice the pork 1/2 inch thick and arrange slices around the pease pudding. Laddle a little of the cooking liquid over the pork to moisten it.