Q. Have you ever come across a recipe for making a boczek?.

A. Boczek is that delightful Polish variation on cured/smoked belly pork theme. It’s very good sliced and lain on top of a slice of rye bread thickly smeared with mustard, as my old mushroom mentor, Adam the Pole, used to eat it. He would also slip it into bigos (a divine compost of cabbage and various meats built up over several days) and chopped up into golabki (stuffed cabbage). It proved more difficult than I had thought to track down a recipe. Most people buy it from Polish delis that dot the landscape. Then I had an inspiration. I called Johnny Pusztai, the legendary butcher, sausage maker and meat curer of J T Beedham and Sons, 556 Mansfield Road, Nottingham NG5 2FS http://www.jtbeedham.co.uk). There is nothing that man doesn’t know about curing meat. He may be Hungarian, and is more used to making Szalonna – the Hungarian version of Boczekm but he know instantly what I needed, and so here is his recipe

3 – 5 kg Lean Pork Belly

For Brine –
2 Litres Water
400g Salt
100g Demerara Sugar
100g Crushed Caraway Seeds
6 Cloves Garlic
1 tsp Black Pepper Corns
2 Bay Leaves

Bring brine ingredients to boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Allow to cool.
Immerse belly in brine and refrigerate for 48 hours.
Remove meat from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.

Smoke for 2 – 4 hours

Place in a large pan of cold water, bring to boil and simmer until the core temperature of the meat reaches 65 °C.
Remove from heat and carefully take meat out of water.

Lay pork flat on a baking tray and place in pre-heated oven 200°C for 15 minutes until exterior of meat dries.

Remove from oven, cover with tea towel and allow to cool.

Slice and enjoy!

5 thoughts on “Q. Have you ever come across a recipe for making a boczek?.

  1. Matt, you kindly offered to continue answering food questions over here now the Guardian column is no more. and I was wondering if you could suggest the best way to fry aubergines? As everyone knows, they soak up loads of oil, and if you try using less they don’t fry properly (I find they end up raw in parts the oil has missed and burnt in others, instead of achieving the desired browning effect all over). I’ve tried a few techniques that are supposed to help – using very hot oil, salting first, cutting the aubergines longways – but they haven’t really helped. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!!

  2. Ian Jefferies says:
    13th February 2014 at 1619hrs. I bought some in the Tesco store at Wokingham, Berkshire yesterday. Presumably, there is a large Polish community locally.

  3. Thanks for this. Not much out there for polish bacon in English. Will try this, this weekend. To Ian, DID YOU ENJOY IT? Careful. Yes the LARGE polish community does lives in Wokingham. Beware!!! (are you Chinese?) The slighter built, friendlier, polish community live in Nottingham, with me. They have a wonderful way of revitalising the concept of the local/corner shop. They keep me supplied with wonderful smoked fish and cured and smoked meats and sausages. Don’t go to Tesco. Support your local, shopkeeper and his/her artisan supplier. BUY BRITISH (encompassing the E.U. and anywhere else that makes good stuff of course) and enjoy life’s bounty. K.

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