Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pork, Pork, Pork, Never Enough Pork

Uh, oh, I just re-read the Charcutepalooza Ruhls and discovered I was supposed to post about my delicious pancetta by the 15th!  Oh well, I did post about my quiche, which was delicious, but I never put up all those other photos and descriptions of all the other dishes I made with the pancetta.  So here goes!
Salted, bagged in fridge for seven days
Rolled and ready to hang
Yes, I'm a little OCD about all the string, but I wanted to make sure it was tight enough so no mold grew  inside....  We have another building on our property, not attached to the house, which contains some exercise equipment and a pool table.  It's easy to control the heat and humidity and the pancetta hung on an exercise bar.  We had already made pancetta in December so I bought this second half of a pork belly in order to make another pancetta within the required time frame.  After two weeks of hanging, it entered my world of pancetta-palooza!

I use pancetta for so many different dishes.  I used it to cover my meatloaf:

Pancetta meatloaf with winter squash
I decided to make a new spin on the classic BLT, so I made myself a PLT!

It actually wasn't a true PLT because I added a slice of swiss cheese.  I was really hungry!  Thinking about the Food52 Citrus & Olive challenge, I also used some pancetta to start off a braised lamb with oranges and olives.  Unfortunately, it didn't make the contest cut but it sure tasted good!  I'm not crazy about the photo, but for a tasty and easy way to add some more depth of flavor I often add pancetta to many meat braises.
Lamb with pancetta, oranges and olives
My favorite dish is one that was made completely from scratch.  I made winter squash ravioli with a pancetta cream sauce.  It's my favorite use of pancetta so far!  The saltiness and flavor of the pancetta combined with the sweet kuri squash filling of the ravioli filled my mouth with such a wonderful balance of flavors.  I think I could eat this once a week!
Winter squash ravioli with pancetta cream sauce
Finally, tonight I'm making a half leg of lamb for dinner and I'm still trying to decide if I should lard the leg with pancetta and garlic, or bone it and stuff it with pancetta, garlic, and maybe some spinach....  The goodness never ends.  I am so thankful for Charcutepalooza!

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