Book cover for PURE CHARCUTERIE: The Craft and Poetry of Curing Meats at Home

PURE CHARCUTERIE: The Craft and Poetry of Curing Meats at Home

Meredith Leigh

New Society Publishers
November 28, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0865718609

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Meredith Leigh, who was a vegetarian for nine years and a vegan for two, believes in the connection between consumers and their world via food. She is a food and farming specialist who has worked as a butcher, chef, teacher, and homesteader, all in search of realistic solutions for sustainable food. She is the author of The Ethical Meat Handbook: Complete Home Butchery, Charcuterie & Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore (New Society Publishers, 2015). Meredith has developed a farmer co-op, managed a butcher shop, and founded non-profit ventures. She is committed to real food as a means to connect with people, animals, and plants.

Cured meat products arose from the need for preservation in a time when cooking and refrigeration were not always available. Today, charcuterie is an embodiment of art in the kitchen, combining precision, balance, patience, and creativity; an economy of ingredients, as poetry is an economy of words. The confluence of these elements, along with the purest of ingredients, can enable anyone to craft cured meats in their home. PURE CHARCUTERIE is a practical and artistic look at the techniques for curing meat at home both as a creative hands-on craft and as a fantastic and sustainable way to preserve highly valuable food. This accessible, beautiful, visual guide walks the reader through the process of making charcuterie, including:

  • Sourcing ingredients
  • Clear explanations of charcuterie technique
  • Creative recipes balancing tradition and invention
  • Smoking meats and building your own smoker

The analogies drawn between art and food, along with creative and accessible photographic discussions of charcuterie technique, make this book an essential primer on the basics of charcuterie: the mystery, the science, the art, and the technique. Ideal for home cooks working in small spaces, PURE CHARCUTERIE is a must-have for experienced and new cooks alike―and any home artisan.

Buttermilk Boudin Blanc

Boudin blanc, or “white pudding,” is a super-traditional sausage, slightly sweet and delicately creamy from the addition of dairy and eggs and a higher amount of fat in the mix. In many old texts, white puddings are regarded as very refined. It’s amazing how much less mainstream they are today, especially considering charcuterie’s “gourmet” rep. I’d like to bring them back, with a tangy upgrade. Some of the oldest recipes I have found call for adding roasted chicken, rather than fresh, to the sausage mix. That makes this recipe a great use for leftovers. Here is a perfect example of how we affect texture by messing with ratios. You’ll see below that lean and fat are relatively equal in this recipe, and the liquid component has gone up considerably, with the amount of buttermilk and the addition of egg. This will contribute to the smoother texture typical of boudin blanc.


  • 1 lb. pork loin meat, lean, trimmed for grinding
  • 0.89 lb. roasted chicken, or uncooked chicken white meat
  • 1.61 lb. pork back fat trim
  • 1 oz. salt
  • 12 oz. chopped onion
  • 1 cup cultured buttermilk
  • 0.2 oz. white pepper
  • 0.2 oz. dried thyme
  • 0.1 oz. ground allspice
  • 0.2 oz. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 0.2 oz. ground ginger
  • 3 eggs, beaten butter
  • 5 feet natural hog casings, rinsed

Start with frozen meat and fat. If you are using chicken that is already cooked you don’t need to freeze it, just freeze the pork loin and back fat. Sauté the onions in some butter until they are glassy. Add to the meat and fat and grind through the coarse plate of the meat grinder. Mix in the spices and then grind everything again through the fine plate of the meat grinder. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and the beaten eggs. Now pour the milk and egg mixture into the meat mixture and put the whole thing in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on 2 or 3 until the mixture is quite mousselike. Taste test. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Stuff into casings and then poach at 170–175 ºF until the sausages reach 140 ºF, about 15–20 minutes.

It is best to use a strainer or steamer basket that you can immerse in the poaching water, and lift the sausages out when they are finished to prevent them from breaking.

When ready to serve, brush the sausages with butter and grill them to sear them off. Serve with mashed potatoes and garlicky greens.

From PURE CHARCUTERIE: The Craft and Poetry of Curing Meats at Home by Meredith Leigh. (New Society Publishers; November 28, 2017; $29.95/Paperback, ISBN: 978-0865718609).


Contact: David Carriere