Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cutting the Mustard - Vermouth Mustard

Last year.... Wow, it still seems weird to say "Last Year" when it was only a couple weeks or so ago.

Anyway, last year I had toyed with the idea of making small jars of homemade mustard to pass around as little gifts for various persons, thus spreading Christmas cheer.  Then I realized the extent of the projects already filling my plate and decided that, as easy as mustard is to make, it would probably be that "final straw" that broke the proverbial camel's back and pushed me over the edge into insanity. LOL 

So now that the holidays are over.  Aside from the 8 birthdays occurring this month, including my own, everything has finally slowed down a little.  Thus I must, must, must revisit the mustard. After all, is there any single condiment that can go from Hot dog to Haute cuisine and still have time to dress a salad?  I think not...   Mayo?  Boring.  Ketchup?  I shudder to think.

Mustard is a wonder condiment.  Sporty, Rustic, Refined, Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Spicy Hot, or Mild - Mustard is all these things and more.  Though which qualities shine through greatly depends on HOW the mustard is prepared.

Of the 3 varieties of mustard seeds, being Black, Brown and "White" or "Yellow,  the Black seeds are the most potent and the smallest, while the White, or Yellow, seeds are the mildest and the largest.  Most great mustards use a mixture of the 3 to obtain a more varied flavor profile. 

Once a mustard seed is ground, it begins a chemical reaction, similar to an onion or garlic, that increases it's heat.  One of the ways to stop this reaction is to use Hot liquids, another is to add an acid, which seems to stop the reaction.  Thus assuring you of a more mild mustard.

This particular mustard is sort of inspired by Dijon which contains white wine and verjuice. (the grape juice prior to inoculation with the yeast that turns it into wine.) Since I don't have any of this acidic verjuice just lying around my kitchen, I decided to use Vermouth.  After all they both start with "VER", so it should be OK, right?  I kind of killed 2 birds with one stone as well, since Vermouth is doubling as the wine.  Awesome.  Yes, I am the king of shaky logic, but hey, it worked.  I was extremely pleased with the spicy hot outcome. This mustard is a little hotter than the "Spicy Brown" mustards such as Gulden's and has a sort of Horseradish quality to it.

Once word of warning....  And something I forgot until it was too late.  Making mustard releases A LOT of vapors into the air, so suggest making it in the summer when you can open the windows and ventilate your home fairly well.  When it's 29 degrees outside and your abode is well sealed against the winter elements, the fumes build up fast. And it's not only from the mustard seeds, but from the simmering vinegar as well. LOL

Spicy Vermouth Mustard

2 oz (60 g) Brown Mustard Seeds
1 cup Dry Vermouth
1 cup Shallot
1 TB Honey
1 Clove bud
1 tsp Black Peppercorns
1 1/2 cups White Wine Vinegar
2 oz (60 g)Yellow (white) Mustard Powder
2 tsp Kosher Salt

Place the Brown Mustard Seeds in a small bowl.

Douse them with 1 cup the Vermouth.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit over night (at least 8 hour, but preferably 12 and up to 24) at room temperature.

While the the Seeds are soaking, go ahead and combine Shallot, Honey, Clove, Peppercorns, and White Wine Vinegar in a small saucepan.

Bring to a simmer over medium flame, and continue simmering for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to 1 1/4 cups.

Pour into a clean container, cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. (you need this to be cold)
After the Brown Mustard seeds are done soaking, place them in the blender (cause it works better than a food processor)

and blend until smooth. (about 10 minutes)

Press the paste through a fine mesh strainer to remove the thin shells

(this produces a finer textured mustard, skip this step if you prefer coarse rustic mustard)

Place the Yellow Mustard Powder in a small bowl.

Remove the cold shallot infused liquid from the refrigerator and strain out the shallot and spices.

Add the Liquid to the Yellow Mustard Powder and whisk until smooth.

Combine the Black/Brown Mustard paste with the Yellow mustard paste, stirring until well combined.

Pour back into the pan and whisk over medium heat until it thickens slightly.

(Kind of like a bechamel sauce)

Remove from the heat and season with Kosher salt.

Pour the hot mustard into your awaiting, sterilized containers.

Let the containers sit at room temperature for 5-7 days to allow it to mellow and age. (this removes some of the bitter back-bite)

Then refrigerate. 

Voile!  Mustard...

For another delicious Mustard Recipe, check out my friend Heather's Finnish Mustard post at Girlichef.

If you'll excuse me now, I have a very important date with a soft pretzel. :)

Oh yeah!  That's the stuff!



DDpie said...

I'm not a big mustard fan, but I love the idea of doing this for gifts. I'm thinking with the amount of acid and Vermouth you could process (water bath method) this in jelly jars. Have you done this?

Shane T. Wingerd said...

I have not made that much at one time before. This recipe is only 1/4 of my originally intended batch and makes about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of mustard, depending on whether you strain the brown seeds or not. I was originally going to make up about 8 "1/2 pint" jars of the stuff and do a water bath procedure on it. (Which is why I decided it might be a bit too much for me to chew during the my already somewhat overloaded Christmas baking list). Next year, or rather THIS year, I will make it all up before Thanksgiving and have it ready to go in the cupboard. ;)

It should only take about 10 minutes in boiling water. (1/4 inch of head space and no air bubbles in the mustard... Blah Blah Blah Blah) I am sure you have canned before. LOL

Patti T. said...

When I first read the name of this post I thought it said Vermont Mustard, getting old is fastly catching up to me. I only made mustard one time, I made the mistake of using it right away, big mistake. I will definitely be trying it again by your instructions. We have at least 15 kinds of mustard at any given time in our house. Variety really is the spice of life! Thanks for being such a great teacher.

D Endicott said...

Oh great and wise culinary poobah,
this has nothing to do with your mustard blog but I had to let you know about the pressure cooker ribs experiment. Your kind advice helped make them edible but I think the ribs were a poor cut as they still came out kind of rubbery and less than toothsome. I did manage to procure a Presto cookbook, however, so the experiments continue. Watch for explosions from the at 11.