If you go camping, especially for more than a couple of days, the problem with protein (meat that is) consumption comes up. Especially some good source of protein that won’t go bad. Sausages are good, but they won’t last long without refrigeration. Protein powder will last forever (in dry conditions). But it has issues also – egg is expensive, whey has some flavors added (it would have been fine, but the most common are vanilla and chocolate), others taste like … um, cement. Salami is a good alternative. Jerky too. But for some reason jerky in this country is always sweet.
So I decided to try to make my own Полендвица. Полендвица is similar to dried salami – it is essentially dried spiced meat. Salami is usually ground pork with spices and fat inside. Полендвица, on the other hand, is a hunk of meat (usually pork) that was salted, then spiced, and dried. It is a traditional Belorussian food. My dad used to make it at home. Well, we’ll see how it will turn out. Right now my trial piece of meat is drying.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought to make it. I found organic biodegradable string and cheesecloth on Amazon. Just used a very simple pork from Safeway. However, some improvements can still be made.
- For some reason the meat was very very salty. There is a clear layer of salt on the surface. Perhaps I should put less salt next time and use thicker meat. I used this fancy non-iodized rock salt. It was a bit tricky to put just the right amount.
- It would be nice to find pork with more fat – this one was rather dry.
- The cheese cloth that I bought was a bit inconvenient. It might be more efficient to use old cheese cloth bandages.
I keep making the meat. Since the process isn’t very strict it kind of comes out a bit different every time.
I tried different pork meats from the store. The one with some fat deposits in the middle works best. Different combination of spices, some garlic. The meat goes very well with good bread or just put it into a hot meal with lots of liquid (borscht – борщ). I even tried it on some local people (non-Russians).