Looking for a unique dining experience? Try Reserve charcuterie. Charcuterie, the art of preparing and preserving meat, has gained popularity in recent years, but Reserve takes it up a notch by creating our charcuterie in-house, ensuring the freshest and most flavorful meats possible. In this blog post, Executive Chef Luke introduces us to six of our favorite homemade charcuterie items.
Our friends Tom and Cathy at Evergreen Lane Creamery raise heritage hogs on their farm. These hogs help manage whey from their goat milk creamery and fallen apples from their organic orchard. They also eat acorns from a number of oak trees on the property. Our team takes the large fat caps off the loin of these hogs and packs them away in casks of coarse sea salt, orange peels, and rosemary. Thinly sliced, it melts in your mouth.
Our team starts with whole hog heads from Hehlden Farm in Coopersville for head cheese. The heads are cut in half and packed away in an herbaceous brine. Then they’re braised down in a rich stock until the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone. Our team cleans the skulls of the delicious trimmings, adds fresh parsley and citrus, and packs it into a terrine that we top with head stock. Chilled and sliced, it’s an unctuous treat on a baguette.
Coppa di Testa
Crafting the Coppa di Testa is similar to the rustic head cheese above. Our team removes all the meat and skin from the pork skull in one piece and then seasons it with salt, sugar, garlic, orange, and fresh herbs. It’s rolled into a bundle and then tied. Our team then cooks it in a fortified pork broth until tender. It is drained, cooled, and sliced. This original lunch meat is a textural adventure and a testament to a steady knife-hand.
Our team starts with special Moulard Duck breasts, submerging them in a spiced brine that has been spiked with bourbon. Once the flavors have melded, we rinse, dry, and smoke the duck breasts over orchard wood. This is a great non-pork alternative on our charcuterie menu.
Chicken Liver Pate
This recipe has barely been altered since Reserve opened its doors in 2010. Our team starts with high-quality chicken livers sourced locally from Matt Hehl. They’re rinsed, dried, and then seared in a very hot blue steel pan, developing a lovely fond, but still raw inside. Our team removes them before adding onions to the pan and cooking them until translucent. Finally, we deglaze the pan with Calvados. Everything gets pureed with a bit of cream, butter, and Chinese 5 spice. They are baked in a cast iron terrine mold until they are set, cooled, and topped with a porcini mushroom gelee. It is rich and hearty and it begs to be spread on a crusty baguette.
This is literally pate of the house. It changes with the seasons, but the base is always the same: heritage pork shoulder ground with rich chicken livers and blended with herbs and spices. We add a panade, or stale baguette soaked in grass-fed milk, and blend with farm eggs to give this pate a light loafy body. We wrap it in caul fat and bake it in a terrine mold. Cooled and sliced, it is one of my favorites on the list. Pro-tip: sear it on a griddle with toast and good mustard, and this can be a meal of its own.
Next time you visit Reserve, try these delicious charcuterie items and let us know what you think by tagging @reservegr on social media. View Reserve’s seasonal menu here and make a reservation. Join our mailing list to stay up to date with the latest from Reserve Wine & Food. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more.