Monday, January 25, 2010

Jambon Blanc ou Jambon de Paris (French brine cured boiled ham)

Crusty artisan baguette, cultured butter, and thin slices of jambon blanc make the most incredible sandwich imaginable.


For the brine
6 quarts of soft or distilled water
1-1/2 pounds of sea salt
1-1/2 pounds of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of crushed juniper berries
1/2 of a whole nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
A large ceramic crock, enameled pot, or nonmetallic, non-plastic container large enough to hold the ham and brine.

For the cooking the jambon
1 fresh boned ham, trimmed with rind and fat intact
3 whole carrots
3 ribs of celery
2 medium-sized onions, peeled and cut in half
3 fat cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of crushed juniper berries
4 cloves of garlic, cracked


In a large pot, bring the water, salt, and sugar to a boil, skimming off any foam that develops, and then set the brine aside to cool.
Tie the juniper berries, nutmeg, bay leaf, peppercorns, and cloves in a square of muslin and add the bundle to the cooling brine to steep.
Sterilize the crock with boiling water and a baking soda wash.
When the brine has cooled completely, place the ham in the crock, remove the herb bundle from the brine, and strain it into the crock, covering the ham completely.
Brine the ham for 10 days. The ham needs to be completely submerged and it may be necessary to hold it down with a heavy, sterile plate used as a weight. Cover the crock and check it periodically  for signs of contamination.
After the brining is completed, remove the ham, rinse it in running water, and then soak it in cold water for 3 to 4 hours to reduce any excessive saltiness.
Use butchers twine to tightly tie the ham into a compact, attractive shape.
Place the ham in a heavy non reactive pot, cover it with water, and bring it to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and taste the water for saltiness.
If the water doesn’t taste clean and sweet, repeat the process.
Add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic and spices and simmer the ham for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, depending on its size. The skin should become gelatinous.
Allow the ham in the stock until cooled. This counts as cooking time as well, so take care to not over cook the ham during simmering.
Wrap the ham tightly in cheesecloth and refrigerate it overnight set in a tight mold, or pressed under a clean, heavy weight.
To serve, thinly slice the ham with rind and fat intact.

Mazzafegati (Umbrian fresh pork liver sausage)
Makes 1 pound

These sausages are Umbrian in origin, tracing back to the Renaissance, Italy’s era of culinary glory, and are generally made in one of two variations, either sweet (mazzafegati dolce), or savory (mazzafegati saporito). The flavor is fantastic and these sausages deserve to be slow grilled over wood or lump charcoal.


1 pound of fresh pork liver
Hog casing

For mazzafegati dolce
2 ounces of pignoli, toasted
2 ounces of unsulphured sultanas, preferably organic, plumped in vin santo or warm water and patted dry.
1/4 cup of sugar
The finely grated zest of half an orange
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For mazzafegati saporito
1/3 pound of mild salsiccia fresca, in bulk form
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


For mazzafegati dolce
Mince the pork liver as finely as possible and knead in the pignoli, sultanas, sugar, and orange zest. Season the mixture to taste and then stuff the casing, twisting the links into 5 or 6-inch lengths.

For mazzafegati saporito
Gently knead together the minced liver and salsiccia fresca and stuff the mixture into casing.

Salsiccia Fresca (Fresh Sicilian Sausage adapted from a recipe by Clifford A. Wright)
Makes 8 pounds

This is a classic Sicilian recipe for fresh sausage, the everyday counterpart to what is known in America as "Italian sausage”. In Italy, especially in the south, making homemade sausage is still a common, almost daily practice.
Pigs today in the United States are bred for leanness, making it necessary to add additional fat in order to make truly good sausage. The ratio of meat to fat should be 3-to-1 ideally, or 4-to-1 at the least, otherwise the sausage will have a dry flat taste and a crumbly disappointing texture.
It is very much worth the effort to search out pasture-raised pork. The omega fatty acids are in balance and the flavor is by far superior to corn fed animals.


6 pounds of boneless pork butt, with its fat, trimmed of any connective tissue and veins and then coarsely chopped or ground. Shoulder may be substituted.
2 pounds of fresh pork fatback, rind discarded, and the fat coarsely chopped or ground.
6 tablespoons of fennel seed, cracked.
2 tablespoons of sea salt if using salted fatback, or 3 to 4 tablespoons if unsalted fatback is being used.
2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper        
1-1/2 cups of freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes, optional
1 cup of dry red wine
About 25 feet of hog casing


Knead together all of the ingredients in a large stainless work bowl and then refrigerate the mixture for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavor to develop.
Stuff the casing, twisting the links to any desired size. Fresh sausage should be used within 2 days and frozen sausage will last for up to 6 months if a vacuum storage system is used.

Guanciale (Dry cured pork jowl)

Guancia is an Italian word for a pig’s jowl and depending on the region, guanciale is one of several names for the end result of dry-curing jowls with salt, pepper, and various aromatics.
A thinly sliced cross section reveals streaks or an oval of meat surrounded by rich porky fat that tastes like the very essence of the pig.
Guanciale is many times used to flavor the skillet when cooking but is also delicious when shaved paper thin and allowed and allowed to melt on warm crusty bread.


For curing
2 very fresh pork jowls, preferably from local pastured pigs
1/2 cup of raw sugar
1/2 cup of flaky sea salt
10 to 15 whole black Tellicherry peppercorns, crushed
4 fresh bay leaves torn in pieces
1 tablespoon of crumbled dry sage leaves
1 tablespoon of fresh picked rosemary needles
4 bushy sprigs of fresh thyme
8 crushed juniper berries

For drying
1 tablespoon of lard, preferably home rendered
Freshly cracked Tellicherry peppercorns to taste


Combine the sugar, salt, and crushed peppercorns, and then gently rub the mixture into the jowls.
Place a clean folded kitchen towel in the bottom of a glass or other nonreactive container just large enough to hold jowls without their touching, and then scatter the torn bay leaves, sage, rosemary, thyme, and juniper berries over the towel.
Place the jowls on top, cover them, and then refrigerate them for 5 to 7 days, turning them over each day.
When the jowls have cured, discard the brine that was generated, rinse the jowls in cold water, and then soak them in cold water for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pat the jowls dry, rub them lightly with the lard, and then rub in the cracked pepper.
Next, tie a piece of clean butcher's twine around the middle of each jowl and hang them for 2 to 3 weeks or longer in a cool dry place with an ambient temperature around 60°.
At the end of the curing period, the jowls should be dry, firm to the touch with only a slight give, and give off a delightful scent.

Tofeja del Canavese (Adapted from a recipe by Antonio Carluccio)
Serves 8 to 10

This rustic peasant recipe from Canavese, the northern part of Italy’s Piedmont region, is steeped in tradition and history.
The name, tofeja, refers to both the dish and the vessel in which it’s cooked, a four handled, rounded and lidded terra cotta pot specifically designed for cooking the dish.
The cotechino sausages called for in the recipe have a story as well, and date back to the siege of Mirandola by Pope Julius II in 1511.
It is impossible to stuff an entire pig in its own casing, and because of food shortages imposed by the siege, butchers had to rely on creativity in order to make sausage. In a written eyewitness account, Marco Cesare Nannini, a local physician, documents that the citizens began encasing pork in pigskin and frugally included minced pigskin in the stuffing as well.
Zampone, another culinary result of the siege, uses the same ingredients as cotechino but this time encased by either the boned foreleg or trotter of the pig.
Most modern cotechino are now made using roughly the same ingredients stuffed into large casing or bung to form 3 by 9-inch sized sausages. Sadly, most cotechino now come precooked and vacuum packed.
Ribs, ears, tails, trotters, cotechino, and cotenna, Italian for fresh pork skin, all lend an incredibly rich, porky flavor and add a wonderful gelatinous mouth feel to this Piedmontese gem.


2¼ cups of dried borlotti or cranberry beans
2¼ pounds of pigs’ feet, tail, ears, spareribs, and small cotechinos
1 pound of cotenna, cut into 3 by 5-inch rectangles
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A small sprig of rosemary, picked and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, divided and finely chopped
Fresh sage leaves
2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 small fresh chili pepper, finely chopped
A generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Several fresh bay leaves


Soak the borlotti in plenty of cold water overnight and then drain them.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Singe the pigs’ feet, tail, and ears if necessary to remove any hairs, and then wash them well, they should be immaculately clean.
Cut the ribs into individual pieces.
Season the pork skin with salt and pepper, mix together the rosemary and 1 clove of the chopped garlic, and then place a pinch of this mixture along with a whole sage leaf in the middle of each piece of pork skin. Roll them up tightly lengthwise and use cotton kitchen twine to tie them in places all along their length.
Put the drained borlotti in a large casserole or Dutch oven, lay the vegetables on top, and then sprinkle them with the oil, chili, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.
Lay all of the meat and cotenna rolls on top of the beans and add cold water to cover.
Scatter the bay leaves and remaining chopped clove of garlic over the top, cover the casserole and cook the tofeja without touching or stirring it for 3 to 3½ hours.
Cut all of the meat into portions, use the pieces to garnish the beans, and serve immediately.


These sausages first originated in Mirandola, a town close to Modena in Emilia-Romagna.
Because of food shortages during the siege laid against Mirandola by Pope Julius II in 1511, butchers were forced to rely on creativity in order to make sausage.
Nothing could be wasted, and so they began encasing pork in pigskin, frugally including minced pigskin in the stuffing as well.
Zampone, another culinary result of the siege, uses the same ingredients as cotechino but this time encased by either the boned foreleg or trotter of the pig.
Today, cotechino are now made using roughly the same ingredients stuffed into large casing or bung to form 3 by 9-inch sized sausages, and sadly, most commercial cotechino now come precooked and vacuum packed.
This recipe may be stuffed into skin or casing and either way, should be tightly wrapped in cheesecloth during the long simmer.


7 pounds of pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of any connective tissue
1-1/2 pounds of pork skin, finely minced
1-1/2 pounds of solid pork fatback, well chilled or slightly frozen
1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Regianno
4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
6 tablespoons of flaky sea salt
3 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of freshly ground cassia or cinnamon
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of freshly ground cloves
2 cups of ice water
60mm hog casing, the largest diameter hog casing possible , bung,
or 10-inch long by 5 to 6-inch wide strips of fresh pork skin.


Grind the pork through a 3/8 or 1/2-inch plate, and then grind the fatback through a 3/16 or 1/4-inch plate.
Combine the pork, fatback, and skin in a large bowl and quickly mix to combine.
Sprinkle the remaining dry ingredients over the mixture, and then knead to combine completely.
If possible, refrigerate the sausage overnight and then work in the 2 cups of water just before stuffing.
Stuff the sausages twisted into 10-inch lengths and then let them rest refrigerated, for 24 hours before freezing or cooking.
To cook cotechino, soak them in cold water overnight, change the water, and then bring them to a gentle simmer for 2 hours.

Cotenna (Pig skin)

Cotenna is simply pigskin, trimmed of its fat and used in various recipes.
Its use was based in frugality but it also adds rich gelatinous mouthfeel to dishes.
In cotechino, the skin is finely ground or minced and added to the sausage mix. In the oldest versions of cotechino, large rectangles of cotenna served as the casing for the sausage itself.
In tofeja, rectangles of pork skin roughly 3 by 5-inches are spread with finely minced garlic and rosemary, and seasoned with salt. Fresh sage leaves are added, and then the skin is rolled tightly and tied along its length with kitchen string as if tying a roast.
In Basilicata, the "instep" of Italy wedged between Calabria and Puglia, crushed red pepper is added and the rolls are browned and then simmered in tomato sauce.

Boudin Noir (Adapted from a recipe in Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery by Jane Grigson)

Ingredients :

4 ounces of coarse breadcrumbs, preferably made from crusty artisan bread
1-1/2 pints of pure cream, preferably local
3 quarts of pigs’ blood
1-1/2 teaspoons of quatre épices (white and or black peppercorns, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger), freshly ground.
5-1/4 tablespoons of flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon of turbinado or brown sugar
3 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1-1/2 ounces of brandy or rum, optional
2-3/4 pounds of diced pork fat
2-3/4 pounds of onions, diced
4 or more feet of large diameter hog casing
Pieces of kitchen twine cut into 10-inch lengths


Using a mortar and pestle, pulverize 7 parts of peppercorns to 1 part each of cloves, nutmeg and dried ginger.
Stir the quatre épices, salt, sugar, parsley and brandy into the blood and set aside.
Heat about 4 ounces of the diced fat in a large heavy skillet, and when the fat renders, add the diced onions and gently cook them until they become meltingly soft and fragrant.
Stir in the rest of the diced fat and set the skillet aside.
Stir the cream into the blood, add the breadcrumbs, and then stir in the onions and fat, and mix completely.
Use a piece of the twine to tie one end of the casing with a tight double knot.
Slip the casing onto the spout of a large funnel, and working closely over a large bowl or sheet pan, ladle the boudin mixture into the funnel and fill the casing.
When the casing is filled, pinch it off and use a piece of twine to tie another double knot.
Take care to not over fill the casing because boudin are extremely tender and will swell and can burst during cooking. Also allow some additional room to tie the boudins into lengths.
Tie tight double knots roughly every 10 to 12-inches along the boudin and then add another set of knots 1/2 -inch from the previous knots.
Carefully cut between each knot to separate the boudin into individual links.
Bring a large shallow pan half-filled with water to a boil and then remove it from heat.
Working in batches if necessary, use the excess twine to lift the boudins, and slip them into the water and return the pot to a bare simmer.
Cook the sausage for about 20 minutes.
At 15 minutes, gently prick the boudins with a needle to test them for doneness. The juice, if any that comes out, should be clear or brown.
Sausages that float to the surface while cooking should be pricked to release air pockets and prevent them from bursting.
When the boudins are firm to the touch, remove them from the water to avoid overcooking, and carefully plunge them into a bowl of cold water to cool, adding additional cold water as needed.
After the boudins have been chilled and patted dry, brush them with a little oil or melted lard before cooking or freezing.
To cook the boudins, cut the in half lengthwise and sear them in lard or butter over medium-high heat.

Rendering Lard
1 pound of fat produces about 1 pint of lard

There are several ways to render lard and regardless of the method chosen, there is a single rule to follow. Don’t hurry the process, slow careful rendering will produce the best quality lard.
Leaf lard is best used for baking, while back fat lard should be used for frying. Lard rendered from scrap fat can be used for frying but also lends a rich husky flavor when used to confit meat of root vegetables.
The water bath method will give the lowest yield but requires very little tending. It also produces lard with a snow white color and a high smoking point.
The stovetop method will give the highest yield but requires the most attention. The lard produced will have a range of color depending on rendering temperature, and will also have relatively a lower smoking point. The oven method falls somewhere in between for effort, quantity, color, and smoking point.
Refrigerated, lard will last for months, and if frozen, lard can last 1 or 2 years


5 pounds of chilled or slightly frozen leaf fat, back fat, or well trimmed scrap fat either cut into a 1/4-inch dice, or chopped into 1-inch cubes, and then ground through the 1/4-inch plate of a meat grinder.

Water bath method:

Combine 2 quarts of water and the diced or ground fat in a large nonreactive, heavy pot or enameled Dutch oven, and bring to a bare simmer over low heat. Continue to simmer for 6 to 8 hours, adding water as necessary to maintain at least 1 quart of water in the pot throughout the process. The water prevents the fat from coloring or scorching.
Using a fine meshed strainer lined with a clean fine-weave kitchen towel, strain the liquid into another pot or large glass bowl and discard the solids.
Cool the liquid at room temperature, and then place in refrigerate overnight. The lard will have separated from the water, risen to the top and become solid.
Poke a hole through the lard and drain out the water.
Spoon the lard into a pan, melt it over low heat, and then pour it into sterile glass jars. Allow the lard to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate overnight before covering. Refrigerate or freeze for storage.

Stove top method:

Pour 1 cup of water into a large nonreactive, heavy pot or enameled Dutch oven, and add 1 or 2 pounds of the diced or ground fat.
Bring to a bare simmer over low heat, and when the fat begins to melt, use a wooden spoon to stir in the remaining fat.
Stirring occasionally, continue to simmer and melt the fat.
As the water evaporates, the rendering fat will begin to pop and sputter. Reduce the heat and begin stirring more often, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot.
As the bits of fat give up their own moisture, they will begin to rise to the surface, and may pop. If necessary, further reduce the heat to avoid being spattered, and stir often. Take care to not let the fat color.
When the bits of fat settle to the bottom of the pot, the lard has been rendered.
Allow the lard to cool a bit, and then strain it into another pot or bowl as mentioned in the first method.
When the lard has cooled sufficiently, pour it into jars for storage as detailed in the water bath method.
The bits of drained fat can be colored and crisped in a hot oven to make cracklings.

Oven method:

Preheat oven to 350°F
Pour about 1/4-inch of water into the bottom of heavy roasting pan, a deep ovenproof casserole, or enameled Dutch oven, and add the fat.
Place the pan on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 225°F, and stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and pouring off the rendered lard from time to time, cook for 2 to 2-1/hours, or until the fat no longer produces lard.
Strain and store as above.

Portuguese Linguica (Adapted from a recipe by Jerry Predika)


10 pounds of fresh pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of connective tissue and fat reserved.
4 tablespoon of flakey sea salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
16 medium-sized cloves of garlic, pulverized
4 tablespoons of smoked Spanish pimentón
2 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of dried marjoram or oregano
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
2 cups of dry red wine


Coarsely chop the pork and trimmed fat, and then chill or slightly freeze separately.
Grind them one at a time through the coarse plate of a meat grinder, and then lightly mix.
Sprinkle all of the dry ingredients over the pork, drizzle with the vinegar and wine, and then mix thoroughly.
Stuff the mixture into hog casing, twist into links, and refrigerate the sausages overnight on towel lined sheet pans before wrapping and freezing. Fresh sausages will keep 4 to 5 days refrigerated.

Salsiccia Fresca (Sicilian Wine and Cheese Sausage)
Makes about 10 pounds


8 pounds of pork butt, trimmed of connective tissue and fat reserved, plus additional back fat if necessary to reach a 20% to 30% proportion of fat to lean.
2 pounds of lean beef chuck
2 ounces of good pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, or Grana Padano, chopped into small pieces.
1 tablespoon of freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper corns
4 tablespoons of flakey sea salt
3 tablespoons of fennel seed, toasted and cracked
2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups of dry white wine
Medium sized hog casing


Coarsely chop the fat and chill or freeze it slightly.
Meanwhile, chop the pork and beef, and then grind them, along with the pecorino, through a 3/8-inch plate.
Grind the fat and lightly mix it with the meat.
Sprinkle the mixture with the pepper, salt, fennel, and crushed pepper.
Drizzle with the wine, and then knead the mixture well.
Stuff the casing and twist into links 6 to 8-inches long.
Fresh sausage will keep for 4 or 5 days, and if vacuum bagged and frozen, will last a year or more.

Saucisse de Toulouse (Toulouse Sausage, from a recipe by Clifford A. Wright)
Makes 8 pounds of sausage

This recipe for saucisse fraiche du pays (fresh country sausage), known throughout France, is the saucisse de Toulouse that enriches a cassoulet. This recipe is from the sausage-maker José Crestou of St. Germain-du-Bel-Air, the next biggest village over from the hamlet where my father once owned a farmhouse in southwestern France. It is very simple and when prepared fresh does not need saltpeter or any preservative. Sometimes these sausages are spiced with nutmeg or sugar, but remember the roots of this sausage are simple and that in the sixteenth century nutmeg was affordable only by the rich and these are really nothing but country sausages. You’ll need a sausage stuffer for this recipe. You might think that an extravagance, but there’s two reasons you should have one. First, once you’ve made your own homemade sausage you won’t believe how superior they are to supermarket sausages. Second, you’ll impress your friends.


6 pounds boneless pork butt, preferably, or shoulder, with its fat, cut into small cubes
2 pounds pork fatback, rind removed and fat cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons salt if using salted pork fat back, 3 to 4 tablespoons if using unsalted pork fat
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
About 25 feet hog casing


1. In a large bowl toss the pork butt and fatback thoroughly with the salt and pepper. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight for the flavors to blend.
2. Coarsely grind the tossed meat by pushing it through a meat grinder, using the largest-holed blade or process in short pulses in a food processor until the mixture has a consistency somewhere between ground and chopped.
3. Open one end of the hog casing, fit it over the faucet in your kitchen sink, and place the remainder of the casing in a medium-size bowl in the sink. Turn the water on gently to wash out the casings. The casings are sold cleaned; you are merely washing away preserving salts and residue. Now you are ready to start stuffing.
4. Affix one end of the casing over the funnel attached to the sausage stuffing attachment of a stand mixer or meat grinder. Push the entirety of the casing onto the length of the funnel (it will contract and fit fine), leaving about 2 inches dangling from the end. Tie this end in a double knot.
5. Turn the grinder or mixer on and as the sausage stuffing begins to flow into the casing, it will push the casing off the funnel. Have a large bowl or platter ready to catch the sausages. Twist or tie off with kitchen twine to make links, or leave to make several very long sausages. Do not overstuff the sausage; otherwise it will burst, either then and there or during cooking. Also be careful that the sausage stuffing enters the casing continuously and evenly and that no air bubbles develop. If air bubbles do occur, it is better either to cut the sausage at that point and start a new one by tying the end off, or to prick the air bubbles with a toothpick.
6. Refrigerate the sausage for 24 to 48 hours before cooking or freezing. The sausages can be divided into portions of different or the same weights and frozen for later use in freezer bags for 2 to 4 months. To cook, place the sausages in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and just, as the water begins to bubble, reduce the heat to below a boil and poach the sausages for 10 minutes, if grilling or frying, or 40 minutes, if serving them boiled.

Note: For grilling sausages, prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on low for 20 minutes. Grill the sausages for 45 minutes, turning frequently. (If using a charcoal fire, the sausages should be at least 6 to 8 inches away from the coals). This sausage can be used in cassoulet or for making saucisse à la languedocienne. The sausage is rolled up into a spiral and secured with two long skewers or spits. It is cooked in a large covered skillet in pork or goose fat with garlic and herbs and served with a tomato, parsley, and caper sauce.

Le Petit Cru à l’Ail (A garlicky variation of Saucisse de Toulouse)


7-1/2 pounds of boneless pork butt, with its fat intact
2-1/2 pounds of fresh rindless pork back fat
4 to 5 tablespoons of flaky sea salt
3 to 4 tablespoons of freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
4 tablespoons of crushed garlic
1 pint of dry white wine
Hog casing


Trim the fat and, set it aside to chill, and then trim the butt of any connective tissue and cube the meat.
Coarsely chop the back fat and the trimmed fat and keep it well chilled or slightly frozen.
Meanwhile, grind the meat through a 3/8-inch plate, and then grind the fat through a 1/4-inch plate and combine the two, mixing lightly.
Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and garlic over the meat and fat, and then drizzle with the wine and mix completely.
Stuff the casing, twist 8-inch links, and then lay the sausages in a single layer on a towel lined sheet pan and refrigerate overnight.
Fresh sausages will last 4 to 5 days, or may be vacuum bagged and frozen for a year or more.

Makes about 7 finished pounds


8 pounds of boned pork shoulder
2 pounds of fresh pork back fat
6 tablespoons of flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
4 teaspoons of coarse freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of garlic worked into a paste
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup of dry white wine
Large diameter hog casing
Boiled kitchen twine


Trim the shoulder of any connective tissue, reserve the fat, and then cube and chill the meat.
Coarsely chop the trimmed fat and back fat, combine, and then chill or lightly freeze.
Grind the fat through a 1/4-inch plate, chill again, and then grind the meat through a 3/8-inch plate.
Sprinkle the meat with the salt, and then mix it with the chilled fat and refrigerate the mixture for two hours.
Sprinkle the ground fat and meat with the sugar, black pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes, moisten it with the white wine and mix completely.
Chill the mixture for 24 to 48 hours to allow flavor to develop.
Stuff the casing pinching the sausage into 8 to 10-inch lengths, and then tie off both ends of each link with tightly knotted kitchen twine.
Cut the links and let them rest in a warm humid environment overnight pressed between 2 clean boards wrapped in clean toweling.
Hang the soppressata for 3 weeks or more at a temperature range of about 50°F to 60°F with around 70% relative humidity.
Humidity is necessary to allow the soppressata to dry from the inside out, and the size of the casing will determine the period of drying time.
Finished soppressata will have lost about 30% of their original weight and should be uniformly firm to the touch.
Once dried, hang the sausage in a cool dry place, or refrigerate to store.