Archive for July, 2008

Finally How To

Friday, July 25th, 2008

How to make salami
I am not an expert and I dont know that much about salami processing etc but I have been making my own salami at home over the last couple of years without killing myself, kids, wife or friends. What follows is my process of making salami which I learned from talking to my local butcher, reading some of a book or three and chatting to friendly grocery check out ladies – you know the old Italian types at specialty grocery stores.
The recipe I will take you through is one that I have never made before today and one that I put together after consulting a couple of books and getting in the mood to get creative. So here goes….
Oh THIS IS IMPORTANT – making your own salami and hanging them in the garage is climate specific. You can only really do it mid to end of June and into July. You also need a good flow of cold air through your garage. Making your own salami is a bit like brewing your own Lambic the old way – it is climate/time specific. So if you were thinking of making your own you should make it this weekend whilst the weather is still cold. If you live in QLD and the temp is up around the 15 I would do some research to see if that is okay – I would think maybe not. Humidity also plays a part in how your salami dry’s but as I said I am not an expert so you should look into that your self.
So on to my version of a pepperoni or sopressata which is what I have made today.
The ingredients:
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1.7k pork neck
1.3 girello (beef)
95g of fine crystal Iblea sea salt – 30g per 1 kilo of meat is the rule of thumb for salami
8g roasted chillie powder
8g smokey paprika
8g of fennel powder
9g freshly crushed black pepper 8 cloves of garlic pound into paste in mortar and pestle
1/2 cup of conseria Peperone dolce – capsican paste…basically boiled down red capsicans
1 cup of red wine
note the run of fat in the pork neck. You can also use pork shoulder as it also has a good meat to fat ratio
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Cut the meat into cubes that are easy to place into the feeder of your mincer or porketta.
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make sure as you place the meat into the mincer that you put some beef followed by some pork and then followed by beef etc so that you get the two meats well and truly combined. When you have finished the first pass flatten the meat out in a large tray and check for fat content.
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I am pretty happy with the look of the balance so I wont add any of the pork fat I had on hand. It will go in the freezer for another day. If you think you need to add some pork fat just chop it up real fine and mix it through the meat. Now it is time to add our spice mix, salt and garlic. I sprinkly half of each spice evenly over the meat and then give it a really good mix. I then flatten the meat out again and repeat the process with the remaining spice ingredients.
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Below is a picture of me delicately adding the spice and salt mix and getting my hands in there!
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Once this has been done put the mixture back through the mincer. I use the same sized cutting blade for all of this as there is no need to go down to a smaller size, you could if want but I dont see the need. Once you have finished pushing through the second mincing round I flatten out the meat and now add the wet ingredients. The capsican paste or sauce is basically boiled down red capsicans – this is used for colour, sweetness and it’s preservative affect. In my all pork salami I use two cups to 4 kilo’s of meat but for this recipe I only want a hint of it.
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Once you add the wine you have a slightly wet meat mixture and now comes the all important secret to making a good salami – or so I am told by those lovely Grocery grannies and my butchers – you must give the meat a really really really good mix! The meat goes from a thin feeling wet mixture to a sticky gluey kind of consistency.
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All done. Take a couple of small pinches of the meat, shape them into little patties and fry them in some olive oil to check for seasoning.
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You can always add some more seasoning and give it another mix if you feel the need.
All that is left is to cover the tray with glad wrap and stick it in the fridge for two days for all those flavors to really meld. Beware the smell is strong and enticing unless your my wife or one of my three kids. Thankfully I can put it in my brew fridge in the garage.
Notice the colour now that it has been really well mixed.
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Okay time to finish off my salami’s. The meat mix has been in the fridge for three days and the flavours are certainly well combined. So first off is to attatch the stuffing tube to the mincer
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and then give the natural casings a bit of a wash and a soak in some water with a squeeze of lemon in it.
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Then I cut the length of casing I want to start with and give it a rinse through with cold water.
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Then thread it on to the stuffing tube and tie a knot in the end of the casing. When you first run your meat mix into the casing it will likely have a lot of air in it so have a sterilised pin handy and prick the casing several times so the air can escape. You should prick the sausage when ever you see air pockets as it helps in filling the casing properly and air in the sausage will allow the meat to go rancid and there fore spoil all your hard work.
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okay it might not look all that appetising right now but keep reading and keep stuffing..
Once you have a sausage about 20cm long stop the machine and carefully twist the sausage around several times so as to create a break before the next sausage.
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Also as it is important that your salami’s do not touch each other as they are hanging to dry – if they do touch they will not dry correctly at that point which is not a good thing – so I pull some of the casing off the feeder tube before making my next sausage.
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Now just repeat the process – fill, twist, space, fill, twist space – oh and admire your handiwork!
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When the casing you threaded is used up cut another length give it a rinse and thread on to the filler tube and continue until you have a heap of sausages. I basically thread as much casing on as I can so I dont have to fiddle around with it. I made 17 sausages out of this batch and threaded casing onto the feeder only twice. If you get greedy and over stuff a sausage it will split, with practise you will get the hang of feeding the mixture in – but if it splits just pinch and twist the sausage a couple of centremeters before the split and tie a knot in the casing and you will end up with a short salami.
When you get down to your last bit of mix and last sausage peel a potato and cut it into small cubes and feed that through your mincer. This will push the remaining meat in the mixer through and into your last sausage. Make sure you dont get any potato into the sausage as this is not a good thing for your salami. If you do then tie it off and fry that sausage up for lunch it’s actually quite nice as the potato cooks in the casing with the meat and it is yum!
Now it is time to string the sausages so that you can hang them. Use cooking twine but not the waxy version as that tends to slip and you will find your future salami’s lying on the garage floor in the morning. I tie the string as close the the end of the sausage so as to avoid air pockets being created when you hang the sausage also this is a good time to prick the sausages to get rid of any air pockets. Occassionally the knots will slip off the ends of the sausages so check your knots
Just to clarify – depending on the size of the sausages I group them into lots of two or three so I can hang them easily. I will cut the piece of skin between them so as to create these groups and I will, if need be tie the sausage ends I have cut so that they remain compact. I cut them in the middle of the extra casing I left between each sausage so I can use the casing ends to tie knots and tie them off. I will then use a longer piece of string and tie it to one end of the group – this becomes the hanging end. At the end of this process I have nine groups to hang with a total of 17 salami’s in all.
It is important to note that yes this can be a dangerous thing to do – making salami and drying them in your garage – but I have been doing it for three years now with no problems. Temperature plays a big part which is why all the Italians in Melbourne are making their salami in July – the coldest month of the year. If you get the correct salt ratio and temperature and are scrupulously clean all should be okay.
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The picture above is of two different salamai’s. One is a straight pork recipe(they are the darker red colour as they have already been hanging for one week) The fresher looking sausage is the beef and pork salami that is the basis for this discussion.
Below are some pictures of the salami’s after they have been hanging for one week after taking the pictures above of the making of them. The darker ones are the pork and beef, the redder looking ones have been hanging for two weeks and are pure pork.
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Well the salami are all done and being eaten as I type. The pork and beef lot hung for just over 4 weeks. I needed to spritz them down with red wine to stop them from drying out too quickly on the outside – I did this once a day and it helps keep the outside of the salami moist so the inside can continue to dry. As it was so cold they did dry a little quicker on the outside than I would have liked – they are very tasty though and the only problem I am having with them is going to be able to keep them long enough.
Out of the 31 salami I made I only had to discard one. It had dried too fast and the meat in the middle dried and split leaving a small space running right through the length of the salami. When I squeezed this salami it was hard on the outside but felt hollow in the inside. This can be rancid and also have BAD bacteria so straight to the bin.
Here is a picture of the bad one held next to good examples of the straight pork (more red) and the pork and beef.
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Below is an example of how you can see the drying ring around the cured and dried meat.
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I took all the salami’s to my butcher and for a fee – a couple of salami – he cryovaced the rest in packs of two. Started out two weeks ago with about 32 packs and am now down to about 25 – too many too fast and too long to wait until next winter so as I can make my next batches.
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And that is how you make salami.

Salami 101 part 2

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

A year ago or so I posted salami 101 but unfortunately none of the photos that I had with that post would come up on the post. So I thought I would post this picture which is of course of me proudly standing on a table (you cant see it but I am up high) next to 43 of my lovely salami’s that I had just finished making – with the help of my lovely eldest daughter Elise. I hung these in my garage on Friday and with a bit of luck with the weather I will be cutting them down in two or so months and they will be ready to eat. I cant wait!
Meanwhile the garage is rather smelly which none of the girls like – I dont mind it – as the salami dries that smell will change from a raw butchers shop smell to a warm delicatessen smell – yum!!
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