What’s a ducketta? I knew you’d ask. It’s my version of farce meat stuffed into or wrapped up in skin and cooked. Actually, it’s more like a zampone (stuffed pig’s trotter) or roulade (farce meat wrapped up in skin) than porchetta but duckpone and duckade just don’t sound as good.
This is one of those conceptual dishes I’ve been thinking about for a while. When you start making your own sausage you tend to notice the other recipes in the books, like ones for pate, terrines, roulade, and zampone. All of them are just continuations of sausage making. Just in different ‘casings.’ So of course you say to yourself, ‘one day…’
Well that day came this week. Over the past few months I’ve been trimming off the skin from pork bellies and saving it for cotechino in December (goes into the stuffing). Recently, I was able to peel off a large rectangular piece from a 10lb belly and more importantly, do it without putting any accidental holes or slices in it. Usually, I’m not so careful. Knowing that I was making some duck sausage later in the month I held onto this particular sheet of skin. When I made the duck sausage last week (seasoned like duck a l’orange, see the orange bits in the photo?) I kept some loose for the ducketta.
Putting the whole thing together was surprisingly simple. I mean, this is one of those dishes where when you make it you think, ‘damn that was easy, how much do they charge for this kind of stuff at restaurants?’ Yes, you need some pork skin which I understand might not be the easiest to source for some. Regardless, it’s basically spread out the wrapping, add your sausage, roll and tie it up, then cook. It takes more time cooking than assembling.
The ducketta turned out great (Cheryl loved it!) but with one minor quibble for me. While the ducketta is fine for carving up right after poaching, the skin isn’t too colorful. Think of how a boiled chicken looks. Meh. So I popped into a hot oven for 45 minutes. I did get some nice color but the crisping part isn’t such a great idea. Reason: makes it very difficult to slice through. Browned is good, the skin stays soft and you can slice it easily with a sharp knife. Like I said, minor quibble but makes for easier handling.
The one thing about making a ducketta which I think is very important is the quality of your sausage. And it doesn’t have to be duck. Use one you really like. Find some sausage which has lots of flavor and be sure to make yourself a good sauce to go with it. The one I made and included here is for an orange sauce. It was delicious.
Ducketta (serves 4-6)
- 1 ½ lbs duck sausage
- Pork belly skin (14”x9”)
- Zest from 1 orange
- Juice from 1 orange
- 1 Tbs shallots
- 2 Tbs butter
- 4 oz demiglace
- Kitchen twine
- Salt and pepper
Lay out the pork belly skin flat. Press the sausage into a ball, squeezing out air. Form into a log and place along the edge of the pork skin lengthwise. Roll the edge over until it meets the other side and overlaps a little. If there’s a gap, squeeze the roll and spread some of the sausage towards the ends. When you have closed off the long edge take some kitchen twine and tie off the ends. Next, make ties around the skin like tying a roast. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Place the roll in a pan or pot large enough to hold it comfortably and cover with water. Poach/simmer for 2 hours, try to keep the water around the 170°F mark.
Remove from pan and pat dry with paper towels. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Place the ducketta in a roasting pan and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest while you make the sauce.
For the sauce: In a small saucepan melt 1 Tbs butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft. Stir in the demiglace and orange juice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Reduce liquid by half. Whisk in the second Tbs of butter to thicken a little. Stir in zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice medallions of the ducketta and spoon sauce on. Enjoy!