Mustard. I love the stuff. Especially because it goes so brilliantly with charcuterie. I had never given one second of a thought however to making the stuff, until last week.
I was sitting around, eating some rillette and salad, and thought “some bloody lovely mustard would go so nicely with this”, and opened the fridge. You can imagine the utmost horror when I realized I was out of Dijon (mustard of choice in my household). I had used the last of it to make the salad vinaigrette I had happily poured over the leafy greens on my plate not moments before.
So I got thinking about making mustard. This of course was no help for my current and rather exasperating problem of having no mustard in the house, however it did take my mind of this disaster of international proportions long enough for me to finish enjoying my lunch.
I started to research about making mustard. I love that research now means opening up Google, rather than dragging myself down to the local library, risking the chance of getting some exercise. After a few short minutes of Googling I start giggling. Manly giggles of course, not silly high-school girl giggles. It turns out that making mustard looks fantastically easy. Obscenely so.
Now, when I think of artisan mustard, I always have this picture of old monk’s sitting around, most likely chanting some baroque tune, grinding mustard seed between two stones that have been there for centuries (the stones, and the monks..). Brother Leodak IV leans over and pours in some vinegar which they make alongside their wine. More chanting happens, more grinding, more vinegar. Another monk, most likely a young whipper-snapper decides to try and get everyone tipsy and throws in some brandy too, which they just happen to have sitting around, because you know, all Monks are total drunks.
And.. taaadaaa artisan brandy mustard is born. Somehow (and I don’t like to think about this commercial part) this huge amount of Monk effort gets bottled up, and sold at my local store of choice.
Funnily enough, that is exactly how I made this mustard that you see before you. Without the monks, baroque tunes, and grinding stones of course..
I started to make the mustard, and thought some additional flavor in there would be lovely. As always my first glance is over to the liquor cabinet, and sitting there before my eyes is a bottle of apple brandy. This immediately seemed right, since I often pair mustard with pork and we all know how well apples go with pork. The rest, as they say is history, and a little bit of fire. I decided to burn off the alcohol from the brandy first, or quite a lot of it anyhow. I didn’t want that sharp boozy taste, but something more mellow. I also got to set something on fire, which I thought would be manly enough to counteract the giggling that went on earlier..
This mustard recipe has a kick. Both the mustard and brandy make it pretty heady stuff. I could certainly add more water and vinegar to it, since it is a pretty thick emulsion, and most likely will do so on a need-for-need basis.
Apple brandy mustard recipe:
NOTES: Dark mustard seed is much hotter than regular yellow seed. Use with caution! Most recipes call for soaking the seeds in the vinegar and water for 24 hours before making. This softens the seeds, makes them easier to grind. I was impatient and didn’t do this step – feel free to try doing it first if you wish! just let me know how it turns out will ya?
1/2 cup of mustard seed – mostly yellow, with about 1 tablespoon of dark in there
1/2 cup of vinegar of choice – I used apple cider
1/4 to 1/2 cup of water
1/8 cup of apple brandy
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric (for color)
Put the brandy in a small flameproof container. Heat over a flame until it catches on fire. Let it burn for a while, to get rid of some of the alcohol. 3 minutes say.
Put the mustard seed, vinegar, water, honey and turmeric in a blender, and blitz it. You will most likely need to scrape down the sides reasonably often. If the mustard is too thick for your taste, add a little more vinegar and water. Blend until smooth but still with some texture.
Pour in a tablespoon of brandy, blitz, and taste. See how you like it. If you can taste the brandy, leave it there. Add more if you wish however.
This mustard improves a lot (read: mellow’s out) if left in the fridge to age for a few days. When it comes to serving, depending on application I thin it with a little more water and vinegar.