This is probably the most terrifying piece of charcuterie I've attempted. Pancetta and pastrami is fine; the cuts of meat I used were small and relatively inexpensive. The haunch of venison I've used for this cost £30 from the local farmers market.
As this recipe could take a while to make (anywhere from 6 months to 2 years!), I've decided to try and write some posts throughout the whole process.
My first challenge was to decide how to cure the haunch - wet or dry? I've seen recipes for both and I'm not entirely sure what difference which method I used would make. So I opted for dry curing.
1 venison haunch
For the cure (per kilo of meat)
25g soft brown sugar
15g black peppercorns, crushed
5g juniper berries, crushed
5g dried thyme
3 bay leaves
This first step is pretty simple. Combine all the ingredients for the cure together and massage into the venison haunch - trying to make as much of it stick as possible. Admittedly, this did get a little messy for me - I had half crushed peppercorns and juniper berries rolling around off the worktop and on to the floor.
Next, wrap it all up in cling film, place into a tray and refrigerate. After a couple of days, there was quite a bit of liquid in the tray that the venison was sitting in, so I've now placed a wire rack underneath it and plan on draining away the liquid every few days. I think this part will take 4 weeks.
Upon unwrapping the venison from its cling film, I found that it had grown a lot of mould and, at this stage, that can not be a good sign. So, it is with regret and sadness that I have had to dispose of it. But, I will try again. Maybe with something a bit less expensive!