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Scandanavian recipe: cured leg of lamb

Scandanavian recipe: cured leg of lamb
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  • Scandanavian recipe: cured leg of lamb

    Post #1 - July 24th, 2007, 9:12 am
    Post #1 - July 24th, 2007, 9:12 am Post #1 - July 24th, 2007, 9:12 am
    I've been looking for a scandanavian recipe for a home-cured leg of lamb -- it's rubbed w/ salt, sugar and saltpetre and cured for several days -- almost like a prosciutto.

    Has anybody ever tried this? Have a recipe for it?

    Thanks.

    Doug
  • Post #2 - July 28th, 2007, 8:01 am
    Post #2 - July 28th, 2007, 8:01 am Post #2 - July 28th, 2007, 8:01 am
    I don't have an idea for you, but I thought I'd mention LTHr Bridgestone, who's currently living in Stockholm and might be able to dig someting up locally. Maybe you could PM him your request.
  • Post #3 - July 30th, 2007, 3:17 am
    Post #3 - July 30th, 2007, 3:17 am Post #3 - July 30th, 2007, 3:17 am
    Sorry for the delay - I've been on vacation!

    Hmmm, DougMose... I'm not too sure about this one.

    One more disclaimer before I begin: I am only familiar with Swedish preparations. I know, for instance that both Island and Norway are crazy about lamb/sheep and suspect that the preparation you're thinking of may be non-Swedish.

    What is eaten in Sweden is known as "fårfiol" or, literally "sheep violin". As far-fetched as the name is, the end result isn't too far off from looking like a violin (if you keep the shank/hoof on).

    You'll need an entire leg of lamb. The cure consists of about 2 and a half quarts of water, 1 cup of water and 3.5 tablespoons of sugar. Or, if that's too little, just keep the ratios and increase the amounts. I'm sure you can add saltpeter to this cure but none of the consumer-oriented recipes I've found in Sweden call for it. Cure the leg for 3 days. After the cure, pat is dry and either cold smoke it or dry/bake in a cool (200 degrees F) for 7-8 hours.

    Fårfiol is normally sliced thinly and eaten plain or used on sandwiches (for instance, on soft flat-bread with horseradish-spiked fresh cheese) or, if smoked, even mixed into scrambled eggs (ala smoked salmon, I suppose). It's honestly not nearly in the same league as any long-cured products I know of but perhaps interesting in its own right.

    Good luck in your searches, DougMose and let us know if you end up finding the recipe you're looking for!
  • Post #4 - September 12th, 2007, 3:29 pm
    Post #4 - September 12th, 2007, 3:29 pm Post #4 - September 12th, 2007, 3:29 pm
    Thanks for the advice!

    I also found a recipe -- my sister-in-law has a copy of an old Swedish-American cookbook for "dried leg of lamb."

    It has one of the greatest first sentences of any recipe I've ever read: "Buy a leg of lamb on October 25."


    Anyway -- the leg gets rubbed with a salt/sugar/salt petre cure for a couple of days in the fridge. Then a 10-day soaking in a similar brine. Then, on Nov 10 (St. Martin's day) -- it gets wrapped in cheese cloth and hung next to the furnace until December 13.

    So -- I'm going to give it a try -- although I'm a little worried about this hanging next to the furnace part (we live in a condo and our furnace is next to our washing machine -- and the temperature isn't much different from the rest of the place.)

    I'll take pictures and post them here once I get started.

    I'm predicting a delicious new addition to my Christmas Eve smorgasboard. My partner is predicting a disasterous smell.

    We'll see who turns out right!

    Doug
  • Post #5 - October 22nd, 2007, 12:38 pm
    Post #5 - October 22nd, 2007, 12:38 pm Post #5 - October 22nd, 2007, 12:38 pm
    OK -- I've started making the leg of lamb -- a few days earlier than the recommended October 25 start date -- but I wanted to do the initial work on a weekend.

    First -- the raw materials: a bone-in leg of lamb, 2 cups of salt, 2 T. of sugar and 1 t. of saltpetre:

    Image

    Second -- combine the dry cure and rub it all over the lamb:

    Image

    Third -- here's the leg after a 24-rest in the refrigerator (and several vigorous kneadings to rub in the cure:

    Image

    Meanwhile, I made a brine in my largest pot: 10 qts of water, 6 cups of salt, 1 cup of sugar and 1 t. of saltpetre. Brought it all to a boil, and then I let that cool overnight too.

    Image

    Finally (for now), the whole leg goes into the brine and into the fridge for 10 days. My leg didn't fit, exactly, so I had to do a little home butchering and chop about 2 inches off the shank end.

    Image

    I'll post more after Halloween, when the leg is ready for the next step (getting wrapped in cheesecloth and hung next to the furnace).

    Doug
  • Post #6 - November 1st, 2007, 10:30 am
    Post #6 - November 1st, 2007, 10:30 am Post #6 - November 1st, 2007, 10:30 am
    OK, as promised, here are some photos of the next stage in the cure.

    First, the leg of lamb after a 10-day soak in the brine. You'll notice it looks a lot grayer. (Maybe I didn't use enough saltpetre?) The texture was much firmer than when it went into the soak too. No appreciable smell -- just a faint whiff of lamb.

    Image

    Then I wrapped it in a couple layers of cheesecloth, tied it up with some kitchen twine, and hung it next to my furnace, just as the recipe suggests. We haven't turned the furnace on yet, so I don't know if that will make a difference.

    Image

    Now we play the waiting game ...for 6 weeks.

    (To quote Homer Simpson: "I'm sick of the waiting game. Let's play Hungry, Hungry Hippo!")

    Doug
  • Post #7 - December 14th, 2007, 11:48 am
    Post #7 - December 14th, 2007, 11:48 am Post #7 - December 14th, 2007, 11:48 am
    OK, the long wait is over.

    After 6-weeks of hanging next to the furnace, my cured leg of lamb is ready.

    First, the unveiling:

    Image

    and, another view:

    Image


    and, finally, a few slices:

    Image

    What does it taste like? It's hard to describe. Very salty, certainly, but with an identifiable taste of lamb. Sort of like a country ham made out of lamb, I guess.

    Served on rye flat bread with a little mustard or horseradish, it will make a great addition to my Christmas eve smorgasbord.

    We'll have to see who in my family I can convince to eat it -- I'm sure both of my brothers will give it a try. But that may be it.
  • Post #8 - December 14th, 2007, 11:54 am
    Post #8 - December 14th, 2007, 11:54 am Post #8 - December 14th, 2007, 11:54 am
    Beautiful work, DougMose! I've been thinking about your project quite a bit. I'm very happy for you that you ended up with such a fine product.

    I'm not sure if we'll purchase a "fårfiol" for our julbord this year but if we do, I'll certainly post a picture or two for you.

    Thanks for keeping us updated in regards to your project!
  • Post #9 - December 14th, 2007, 8:31 pm
    Post #9 - December 14th, 2007, 8:31 pm Post #9 - December 14th, 2007, 8:31 pm
    It looks beautiful!!
  • Post #10 - December 14th, 2007, 8:46 pm
    Post #10 - December 14th, 2007, 8:46 pm Post #10 - December 14th, 2007, 8:46 pm
    Well, if you have any leftovers, I'm sure you can find some takers around here!

    Very inspiring.
  • Post #11 - December 15th, 2007, 2:06 am
    Post #11 - December 15th, 2007, 2:06 am Post #11 - December 15th, 2007, 2:06 am
    A splendid accomplishment indeed! Thanks for posting the results.
  • Post #12 - March 9th, 2013, 5:31 am
    Post #12 - March 9th, 2013, 5:31 am Post #12 - March 9th, 2013, 5:31 am
    Having been to Norway many times and eaten my brother in laws dry cured leg of lamb I was so so glad you have tried this curing for me! It looks fantastic and cant thank you enough for the effort that you have put in so that lazy so and so's like me can now just copy what you have done! I am going to start mine on March 15th for no other rerason than going away on holiday whilst it will be in the fridge in the brine. I am going to put it into a zippable bag as not got a pot big enough. Thanks again and loved reading your humerous article. Kevin in Scotland.

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