It’s not been a very productive week, however, I managed to start off a Lonzino Stagionata. I think this is the correct term for what is a cured air-dried loin of pork, Italian style.
It’s basically like a parma ham but from the eye of the loin. Expensive, but superb.
I started off with 4½ kg of pork loin from Joseph Morris’s. It was boned and the eye of the loin removed yielding 1½ kg of meat for the Lonzino and a further 2¼ kg of meat/fat that will be used in chorizo.
Now for the cure, what should I use? I am at something of a disadvantage here as I’ve never tasted Lonzino. Online recipes, of which I found only two from trusted sources, varied considerably in the spices used so I was left with making up my own interpretation from the (little) information available – it’s turned out as a sort of combination of the two online recipes. Whether it will be anything like the original is anyone’s guess! Anyway, here it is:
For 1 kg meat I used:
Cure #2 – 2.4gm
Black Pepper 5gm
Fennel Seeds 4gm
White Pepper 3gm
Garlic Powder 2.5gm
Grind the spices and mix with the other ingredients. Rub cure into the loin then put it into a food grade bag or vacuum pack it.
It will cure for 10 days or so.
The Lonzino was cured for 12 days. I washed and dried it and put it into a 90mm collagen casing. The casing was tied (badly!) and pricked to aid drying.
I left it drying at 10 – 15°C in a humidity of 60 – 70% (ish) until it lost about 40% of its weight.
The black wires in front of the Lonzino are from the humidity and temperature sensors in the fridge.
In late August I sliced some of it Getting to that stage was not been without its problems what with a new fridge set up for the drying it’s been a case of juggling things about to get the humidity at the correct levels – not helped by the weather we had at the time.
It’s a little dry around the edges, surprising as if anything the humidity was a little high in the early stages of drying. I dried it to a 36% weight loss. Next time I’ll dry it less and test for water activity to make sure it’s safe. I don’t think the drying was helped by the small size of the loin or the fact that I de-cased it after about 20 days as some undesirable moulds were starting to form under the casing – I obviously hadn’t got it tight enough around the meat. The mould? I brushed that off, rubbed the area with wine vinegar to kill any remaining nasties, and sprayed the meat with Penicillium Candidium – the white mould that is seen on Brie and Camembert cheeses. Within a few days a nice coating of white had appeared:
Pauline really likes its fennel overtones; I’m not as keen. Yes I like it, but think I will do a Lomo next time – basically, Lomo’s the same thing but with paprika flavours – Spanish as against Italian. That said it’ll make a nice addition to the growing charcuterie store.