Vegan Beetroot Charcuterie – Our Takedown

Many of you asked us for the recipe of these vegan beetroot charcuteries.
While we aren’t the inventor of this technique, the credit goes to the writers of the just perfect book “Koji Alchemy” Rich Shih and Jeremy Umansky, we gave  it multiple tries through the years and will gladly share our insights.

The road will be long

First thing to know, this is not an easy recipe! It demands lots of materials and a timing spanning over a week! But the result is worth, it’s a unique feeling that your guest will never forget. As an extra we give you the best way to conserve this beetrooty gold.

One step at a time

This charcuterie can be done with lots of vegetables. We did it with carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celeriac but we always came back to the beetroot. It gives the best meaty feeling and had the most consistent succesrate.

1. Cooking the vegetables

A crucial step in the process is cooking well the vegetables without overcooking them. it’s like with italian pasta: it needs to be al dente, still ferm but cooked through so the enzymatic reaction of the koji can take place. Tip: choose evenly big beetroots and don’t go for too big, and don’t peel them. More in detailed science of cooking beets can be found here

Estimated time of cooking: 20 min in the preasure cooker. But really it depends on the size of the beets.

2. Peeling & smoking the vegetables

Once they are cooled down you can peel them and smoke them to give it extra flavor. We smoke indirectly with a hot smoker at 60 degrees for 2 hours.

3. Curring the vegetables

Once they get that earthy and smoky feel you can curre them in 2% salt. We put them in sous-vide bags with the salt and suck all air out this to give the salt a strong contact with the beets. We let them do their work for 2 days.

4. Innoculating the vegetables

And now the most technical aspect. Here we experimented a lot. First we did the innoculation on plates and using the self fabricated fermentation chamber from the Noma Fermentation Guide. While it was fun to start with, we lost parts of our innoculation due to contact with the plates. We changed towards hanging them and now we hang them in meatstyle nets giving it an even closer feel and look towards charcuterie.

We worked first with a mixture of flour and koji kin (10gr for 1gr of koji) but it created a kind of peel around the beet that didn’t help once it dried. So we came back to use pure koji-kin strains when innoculating. This is the overal set-up:
For 5kg of beets we use approx 5gr of koji-kin through a cacao dispensser
We set up the fermentation chamber at 30 degrees and 90% humidity and let it run for 2 days

5. Drying the vegetables

When you finally succeeded all the other steps you can put them in the dehydrator at 40 degrees until they lost 50% of their weight.
Voila now you have some vegan charcuterie of the finest sort!

Extra. How to preserve them the longest

It’s cool to create such elaborate products, but due to the fragility it doesn’t keep that fresh that long. This was quite an annoying feature and we started working on different methodes.
The best method? Do like the coppa or Iberico, slice it really fine and put it under sous-vide bags. It will stay fresh almost indefinitely!