Cacciatore Salami Recipe

Cacciatore salami

  • makes 8-10 salami
  • A little effort

We show you how to make these classic Italian sausages at home to serve as part of a charcuterie board

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*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards

Make sure you have plenty of worksurface available when filling the long sausage casings, and an undisturbed corner for hanging them

Ingredients

  • 50-55mm-wide beef middle casings 2 metres, (see notes below)
  • minced lean beef 250g
  • minced lean pork 750g
  • pork fat 250g, finely cubed (see notes below)
  • fennel seeds lightly toasted, then crushed to make ½ tsp
  • black peppercorns crushed to make ½ tbsp
  • garlic 1 large clove, crushed
  • red wine 4 tbsp
  • fine table salt 37.5g (or 3% of combined weight of beef and pork meat, and fat)
  • Prague Powder #2 ½ tsp (or 2.5g on a digital micro scale; see notes below)

Method

  • Step 1

    Soak the casings in a large bowl of warm water for at least an hour while you prepare the filling. Put the sausage-making machine in the fridge so it’s cold when ready to use.

  • Step 2

    Tip all the salami ingredients (bar the casings) into a large bowl and mix everything thoroughly with clean hands to ensure the small amount of curing salt is evenly distributed. When combined, cover the bowl and put in the freezer for 1 hour to firm up (this will prevent the mixture from smearing as it passes through the sausage machine – but be careful not to let it freeze solid).

  • Step 3

    Open the back of the sausage machine and push in as much of the salami mixture as will fit. Reattach the handle, then wind slowly until the mixture fills the nozzle and just reaches the tip (this will prevent an air pocket forming inside the casing). Remove one of the casings from the water, squeeze out as much water as possible, then slide it onto the nozzle, pushing it back until just 2.5-5cm of casing is hanging off the end. Tie a knot on this end to seal using twine or butcher’s string. While holding the casing in place (this is easier with two people), begin to wind the machine slowly, so that the mixture starts to fill the casing.

  • Step 4

    It’s important at this stage to ensure the casing is filled as evenly as possible. The sausages should be well filled so that the casing is stretched fairly taut. It is also important to remove any air pockets that appear inside the casing (otherwise the salami may warp and dry unevenly) – you can do this by pricking 5-10 small holes in the casing using a small needle or pin (sterilised over a flame until it glows), being careful not to tear the casings. Once the casings are full, tie off the ends using twine or butcher’s string, and then divide into 8-10 individual salami (depending on how long you want them) by tying knots around the casings, again using twine or butcher’s string. Don’t slice into separate sausages at this stage or you risk the salami falling apart while they hang.

  • Step 5

    Use some more twine or butcher’s string to create hanging loops around the thick knot of the casing at either end of the line of salami. It is important at this stage to weigh all the salami together and make a note of their combined weight. Find a spot out of direct sunlight, that doesn’t get too hot or too cold, and hang the salami (metal s-hooks will come in handy for this). It’s important to find a spot with some moisture in the air (i.e away from air-conditioning or extractor fans), because the salami needs to dry out gradually, not quickly, otherwise they may go ‘dusty’ in the centre before the meat has had a chance to cure properly and the flavours will be underdeveloped.

  • Step 6

    Weigh the salami after 3 days, and then a couple of times a week. The target is 30-35% weight loss, at which point the salami will be ready. There should be a loss of 10-15% weight in the first week, slowing down after that – if the weight loss is greater than 15% in the first week, then the air is too dry and the salami should be moved.

  • Step 7

    Depending on the environment and the thickness of the salami, it could take anywhere between 1-3 months for the target weight to be achieved, but in general, the slower the better in terms of flavour. When ready, the salami should feel firm with a little give when pressed between your fingertips. It should also have that distinctive porky, peppery salami smell.

Beef middle is the traditional, natural casing for salami with just the right width and thickness – it is available at £7.50 for 9 metres of casing from weschenfelder.co.uk. You’ll only need about 2 metres for this recipe, but the remainder will keep for 3-4 months. Prague Powder #2 is available online at homecuring.co.uk or smokedust.co.uk.

You’ll need to ask your butcher for cubed or minced pork fat, as you’re unlikely to find it in supermarkets.


Discover how to make your own charcuterie board too...

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