Encouraged to create a recipe to celebrate the end of Charcutepalooza, I came up with these bright and savory crepinettes. A spicy mix of beef and pork is shaped into little oval patties, topped with a shiso leaf, and then wrapped in caul fat before being roasted. These are a delicious and quickly assembled form of charcuterie with a spicy Korean twist, and a great way to try out your new meat grinder attachment!
Especially during the winter holidays, I crave a bit of bright and spicy-hot cheer, and these little bundles of savory roast meat make a special meal accompanied by japchae: sweet potato noodles and colorful veggies drizzled with a gently sweet soy dressing, and sticky rice. Make them a bit smaller, and they will be delicious as an appetizer.
Caul Fat: Also known as "lace lard," this is a sweet and incredibly useful pork product for wrapping crepinettes, faggots, and pâtés. Ask your butcher or look online to order.
Gochujang: A savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. Delicious, complex, and warmly spicy.
Soy Pickled Shiso Leaves: Also known as "perilla" and "beefsteak plant," shiso has been described as an Asian version of basil, but it has its own unique and delicious flavor. I grow it and pickle it in soy in the fall. Try find it in a large Korean or Japanese market, or substitute fresh shiso leaves, which are easy to find at Asian markets. —Mosaica
Test Kitchen Notes
Testing this reminded me that recipes may provide only the faintest of guides for a novice. With most of the recipes I cook, I rely on my years of experience with similar ingredients and techniques, but with this one I was a newbie. Luckily Mosaica’s recipe is well-written. It’s also intriguing—I’ve always wanted to work with caul fat—and the Korean twist on crepinettes sounded like it would keep the sausage from being too heavy. I wasn’t able to locate the caul fat in time, but it turns out that pancetta (unsmoked bacon) and lardo (some sort of salted, seasoned pork fat), work well to keep the crepinettes moist and lusciously fatty. Can’t wait to try this again with caul fat!
Mince garlic and scallion fine, and fry gently until just softened. Set aside to cool.
Chop all meat into approximately 1-inch pieces and toss with the pepper, salt, gochujang sauce, and cooled fried garlic and scallion. Process first through the large plate of your meat grinder and then once more through the fine plate. Lastly, break up your cracker and process it through your grinder; it helps to get the last bits of meat through the plate and adds a bit of binding to your forcemeat as well.
It's helpful to fry a little bit of your meat to taste at which point you can adjust the seasoning to your preference.
Carefully spread your lacy piece of caul fat onto your clean workspace. I find it easiest to work with the delicate caul fat on a food-safe plastic cutting board just wiped with a cold wet cloth. Depending on the stretchiness and composition of your piece of caul, you may have leftovers. Caul fat freezes beautifully!
Place one shiso leaf in the center of a section of the caul fat closest to an edge.
Take an egg-sized portion of your forcemeat and shape into a slightly flattened oval patty, and place it centered over the shiso leaf. Use a sharp knife to trim away a piece of the caul just large enough to wrap your meat in, and gently wrap the edges of your little caul fat wrapper up and over your meat patty.
Roast in a 375°F oven on a rack over a silver-foil lined roasting pan for 20-25 minutes or until the crepinette feels firm to the touch and is nicely browned. Serve warm with rice and japchae. I'm very fond of Maangchi's version of japchae, though when I make it as a side I will simplify it, for instance by not adding meat.