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Charcutepalooza January Challenge: Duck Prosciutto

Posted by jenskitchen on January 15, 2011

The Year of Meat. Those were the words that got me. I mean, it’s a whole year of meat! What could be better than that? And charcutepalooza? Absolutely adorable name for a blogging event 🙂 When I read the tweet from Mrs. Wheelbarrow, I was in. And since I had just been thinking that my New Year’s Resolution needed to be to get back to my blog, this was just the kind of commitment I needed to get the ball rolling. Did I mention that it is a whole year of meat projects?

And, just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can check it out here for yourself. And, if you want to join in on the fun, you’ll find “the Ruhls” here. Ha. Ruhls.

The first challenge was Duck Prosciutto. Confession time. I’ve never actually eaten duck before. But, I’m the type of person who loves a challenge. I love trying new things. So, there I was… looking at the challenge details. Find a duck. Locally sourced and humanely raised if possible. This resulted in a series of humorous daydreams about me going duck hunting (I don’t have the shoes for it. Or the gun. Or the boat.) And the guy I get duck eggs from would have been hurt if I had asked for one of his ducks. They’re kind of like his pets. So, after several attempts to find local, humanely raised duck failed, I decided to go to a small, local specialty meat shop. The guy at the counter asked me if I knew of a recipe for duck breasts because there had been a rise in sales lately. I told him about Charcutepalooza.

So, duck found. Book borrowed from the library. (I’ll buy my own soon). Ready to make prosciutto.

Eight days later…

Yes. Eight days to make prosciutto. For seven of those days I had duck breasts, seasoned and wrapped in cheesecloth hanging in my garage. I had to park my car in the driveway so I didn’t end up with exhaust-seasoned duck prosciutto. Today I pulled them down, unwrapped them, and sliced a very thin slice for a first taste.

Rich. Amazingly rich taste. I’ve never actually eaten duck before, so I have no idea how this compares. I don’t know what I was expecting. But all I could think of was how perfect the taste was.

Ah, but making the Duck Prosciutto was only part of the challenge. Now, what to do with it? Saltimbocca, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, pasta with prosciutto… All these things sounded amazing. In the end, I decided to go with Braciole. So here you go… My dinner tonight courtesy of Charutepalooza:


Disclaimer: I am not Italian. I have never made Braciole before in my life. I can’t even guarantee that what I made tonight IS Braciole. But every since I saw the Everybody Loves Raymond episode where Debra made Braciole, I’ve wanted to make it. From what I’ve read, Braciole is meat, pounded thin, filled with a variety of several fillings, browned, and then finished in tomato sauce. Which is what I made tonight…


Grass-fed Top Round Roast – from The Meat Shop in Phoenix, AZ

Duck prosciutto (recipe from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Michael Polcyn) – duck breast purchased from Hobe Meats, Phoenix

Parmesan cheese

Garlic – from the Farmer’s Market


Tomato sauce (made from fresh tomatoes) – from the Farmer’s Market

Carrots – from the Farmer’s Market

Onions – from the Farmer’s Market

Olive Oil – from Queen Creek Olive Mill

Here’s what I did:

Make tomato sauce: Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add chopped onions and cook until soft. Add cut tomatoes. Cook on low with pan partially covered until the tomatoes break down. Season to taste.

Make meat rolls: Butterfly the top roast and cut into individual servings. Pound thin. Pound thinner than I did. It would be helpful to have one of those meat pounding things for this. I didn’t have one, so I used my rolling pin. Layer each serving of beef with a layer of duck prosciutto followed by layers of any of the following: pesto, cheese, hard boiled egg slices, bread crumbs, ground beef. I used layers of ricotta cheese, garlic, parsley, and parmesan. Once layered, roll the beef and secure with a toothpick or tie with butcher’s twine. Brown the beef rolls in a hot pan on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

Make sauce: Add a bit of olive oil and cook chopped carrots and garlic until soft. Add tomato sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Return beef rolls to pan and cover to finish cooking through.

I served the braciole with gnocchi verde, a salad with freshly made vinagrette and the extra sauce on the side. I recommend this. I am absolutely in heaven right now.

The duck prosciutto added a rich, salty flavor to the beef that was perfect. The soft pillows of spinach and ricotta gnocchi were the perfect compliment. I felt really good that the majority of the ingredients for my meal were from local sources.

Want to join the fun? It’s not too late. Mrs. Wheelbarrow has extended the deadline to sign up for Charcutepalooza. Start in with the next challenge that was announced today: bacon and/or pancetta. Make the duck prosciutto at some point as well. Please visit the fabulous bloggers who have commited to a year of meat. You’ll find the current blogroll here.


5 Responses to “Charcutepalooza January Challenge: Duck Prosciutto”

  1. Judy said

    BRAVA!!! I am not italian- but almost!! have been living in Italy since 84- and teach italian cooking.
    here is the Sicilian way to make the “braciole” or involtini!

    my duck breasts are still a little moist– so drying still.
    Can’t wait for Feb– amd going to go crazy!!!

  2. Cathy said

    Lovely recipe. What a nice idea to use the duck proscuitto in this way! Thanks for playing along!

  3. wauld said

    It sounds delicious. And I still have proscuitto left!

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