Uncooking That Goose: Kosher Salami and “Ham” from Italy

Note: Before trying the recipes, please note this Follow-Up, Summer 2000. We can now report on the results of the goose ham and salami described in our last issue (below). The ham was a great success–dark red and succulent, like the best prosciutto ham. But the salami smelled bad and went into the garbage bin. We think we did not use enough salt and fat. We’ll try again…

“In America,” writes Edda Servi Machlin in her fascinating book, The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews, “where one can find a number of ready made kosher cold cuts, homemade ones are a luxury. They were a necessity for us and so we worked to perfect our skills in preparing them. . . . Undoubtedly, these specialities involve an investment of labor and some of them can be prepared only during the cold months. But I am confident that my readers will not mind the work required when they discover the rewards that await them.”

With this encouragement, we plucked up our own courage to prepare Machlin’s recipes for Salame D’Oca (Goose Salami) and Proscuitto D’Oca (Goose “Ham”). The results are now hanging in a corner of the kitchen–one 18-inch “salami” and one small round “ham.” These two interesting objects used up all the meat in one goose, but we made a large pot of stock with the bones, one quart of rendered goose fat and a large handful of cracklings from the skin (which were wonderful on a Caesar salad.)

This list of ingredients is simple:

1 goose
2 cloves garlic, crushed
finely ground Celtic sea salt
kosher salt

You will also need a sharp, flexible filleting knife, a needle, some thick thread, a pair of kitchen scissors, a food processor or meat grinder, and something to use as a weight.

Your goose will probably come with the neck cut out, and a long flap of neck skin that has been cut open underneath the neck.

Step 1: Using a sharp, flexible knife, make incisions in the skin of the duck along both sides of the back, starting on either side of the neck skin and running just above the wings. Join up the incisions at the back, just above the tail. Carefully peel this skin off the back of the duck, using your knife to loosen it. Spread out the entire piece of neck and back skin and carefully remove any excess fat from the inside, using a flexible knife. (Try not to tear the skin, but if you do, you can sew up the tears with needle and thread.) Chop up this fat and reserve. Rub the inside of the skin with crushed garlic and set aside. This will serve as the salami skin.

Step 2: Carefully remove the thigh-leg pieces and set aside. (These will be used to make the “ham.”) Separate all the remaining meat, fat and skin from the duck. Trim most of the fat off the meat and place in a large measuring cup along with the fat trimmed from the salami skin. Cut up the remaining pieces of skin and fat and set aside. Place the trimmed carcass and neck in a large pot, fill with cold water and set aside.

Step 3: Press the meat with the small amount of fat down in the measuring cup. You should have about 3 cups. Measure 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper for each cup of duck. Grind the meat in a meat grinder or in a food processor and mix well with the salt and pepper.

Step 4: Sew up the salami skin starting at the narrow (or neck) end and ending about 5 inches from the other end. Stuff this with the ground meat. Trim off any excess length of skin, fold over and sew the salami closed. Prick the skin all over with a needle to allow air into the salami–this is very important. Attach a loop of two thicknesses of thread. Hang from a hook in a cool, well ventilated place. Place a bowl under the salami to catch drips. The salami will be ready in 4 to 6 weeks, when it can be sliced and eaten.

Step 5: To prepare the “ham,” carefully remove the bones and tendons from each connected leg and thigh piece, without tearing the skin. Match the two units in mirror image, skin sides out. With needle and thread, sew the skins together all around. Place some kosher salt in a small bowl, place the “ham” on top and add more salt so that the top and sides are completely covered. Cover with an inverted dish smaller in diameter than the bowl so that it touches the meat. Place a weight on the dish and keep the bowl in the upper shelf of the refrigerator for 5 days. After the second or third day, turn the “ham” over and recover with salt.

Step 6: On the fifth day, remove the “ham” from the bowl, wash it throughly under cold running water and dry it carefully. Use needle and thread to attach a loop for hanging the ham. Hang in a cool, well ventilated place for about 4 weeks. Slice paper thin and serve with whole grain bread, melon or figs.

Step 7: To render the fat and make cracklings, cut the skin and fat into pieces and place in a heavy pan over a medium flame. Cook gently until all the fat is rendered and the pieces of skin are crisp. Remove these “cracklings” with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let the fat cool slightly and pour through a strainer into a glass jar. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. (Goose fat is great for frying!)

Step 8: To make stock, add 1/2 cup vinegar to the pot of bones, bring to a simmer and skim any foam that may come to the top of the pot. Add 2 onions, 2 peeled carrots and 2 pieces of celery, all coarsely chopped. Add several sprigs fresh thyme, tied together and 1 teaspoon green peppercorns, crushed. Cover and cook gently for 4 to 24 hours. Strain the stock into containers and refrigerate. Remove any fat that congeals at the top. (Your dog will love this, as well as the softened cooked bones!) Store for several days in the refrigerator or for several months in the freezer. Goose stock can be used in soups and stews.


This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Pric

Sally Fallon Morell is the founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and founder of A Campaign for Real Milk. She is the author of the best-selling cookbook, Nourishing Traditions (with Mary G. Enig, PhD) and the Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care (with Thomas S. Cowan, MD). She is also the author of Nourishing Broth (with Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN).

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