April 1, 2009

Homemade Sausages and Bacon - Carnati si slanina de casa

I know spring has come and photos with beautiful colors, salads, soups, desserts and other light and fresh seasonal foods show up, but last week i was reading again about smoked and cured meats (thanks to Mike and Sherry from Menu in progress), and since i failed miserably that day to keep the lent and ate some grilled sausage, i thought i should talk about the same thing, even though the food was made 3 months ago. And talking about Mike and Sherry, i cannot tell you how much i like their food, their authenticity and craft, from charcuterie to the posts about beer, from BBQ to Mexican or Asian food and everything else, all looking good without fuss and foodie snobbery (not that i am not a sucker for that, too).
Although i helped mom back home at Christmas time to prepare all our traditional "porky" dishes, i've never thought of trying to make them here myself, until Leila (a wonderful cook i "met" when i was active on the Romanian cooking forum RC) showed us some photos with her cured pork belly, and the only way you could escape your misery was to make them yourself.
So.... i made my first sausages in December 07, but they weren't smoked, and also headcheese and cured pork belly. And here is a
link with the photos, on the forum, because i cannot find them on my computer anymore. I think they are saved on Clara's, and that one is out for sometime now. (looking at the pictures now, i remember i have to bring out to light some of my cakes, too, but maybe in the weeks to come).
At that time, i discovered the pancetta and the headcheese (testa di coppa) from
Menu in progress, a blog that i liked so much, because it showed me that it is possible to try even here in sunny and warm California to go wild and try charcuterie at home .... and lately they've been killing me with their smoking, so this past December i had to get our sausages and bacon smoked, too. Not at home off course, because it's still impossible, but when i went to buy the sausage casings, the owner of the shop told me if i want, he could smoke them for us. I think that was the best news i could give my dear husband, who enjoyed this homemade sausage / bacon business more than i can tell you, even more than myself. Clara was waiting then for Santa, Gabi for the sausages and bacon.

This year we made two kinds of sausages, and you have to believe me when i say two, because the second ones are not in the pictures. We made pork sausages (the ones you see below) and some beef & lamb ones, thin and just a bit spicy, which disappeared from the table in about 10 minutes, as we had only 3lbs and 15 people at the table. Everybody thought the lamb and the hot paprika made them excellent, so now we know what has to be done next December. The thing is, we made them only because we had casings left, and not enough pork meat (although we bought 15 lbs pork but and about 5 pork belly, ground all together). So we mixed about 2 lbs beef with 1 lb lamb, changed a bit the condiments and used the thin casings. And also made the liver and offal stuffed sausage, which in my part of the country they call lebar (kind of a leberwurst) with pork liver, ground pork meat, lungs, pig skin and onions, which is boiled and served cold with mustard or horseradish. But once again, i have no photos since i was in the kitchen and nobody else took a picture because they were just having a good time.
We took everything to the smoke house for 3 days, and we couldn't wait to get them back and try them out. The sausages came out really nice. The cold smoke he used was perfect, did not cook the sausages all the way, and the flavor was unbelievable.
And the bacon looked and smelled amazing, but it was not cooked through, like the one from back home, which is sliced and eaten without frying it, we never do that, it's like the Swedish slab bacon you find here in some delis. But we took care of that. We boiled the pork belly in water with peppercorns and bay leaves for about 20 minutes, and then it was just perfect, especially with some onion and pickled green tomatoes (another home production) and some boiled peppery plum brandy (tuica), as the tradition calls :). Back home in some parts of the country the bacon is boiled in the brine from sauerkraut, but since ours was already cured, the brine would have made it even more saltier, that's why we used water.

Next December, i'll take photos of all these and come back with the recipes. Promise.

This is the recipe for the pork sausages as we made it:

6 lbs pork meat (3 kg)
2 lbs pork fat or pork belly
2 garlic heads
3 tablespoons salt
2-3 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dry summer savory
1 teaspoon ground juniper berries
2 tablespoons sweet paprika

sausage casings

~ We ground the meat ourselves, using the larger/coarser dial blade, and the fat through the normal smaller size, but if you don't have a meat grinder, ask the butcher to grind it for you.
~ Mince the garlic and mash it well with salt and about 1/4 cup cold water.
~ Mix together the meat, condiments and garlic. Don't overmix to make it a paste. Taste the meat to make sure is well seasoned (my husband likes to taste it raw, grossing me out every time, but you don't have to do that. Just saute a small patty, then taste it).
~ Stuff the meat into the casings and twist into 6-8 inch (15-20 cm) links. Refrigerate them uncovered overnight, or, if it's cold enough outside or you have a dry cold basement, hang them there overnight, uncovered.
We didn't smoke them ourselves, so i cannot give you any advise on that, i can tell you only that we took them to the smoke house Monday morning and picked them up Wednesday at noon. But, you could definitely check out Sherry and Mike's blog for instructions. Also, in Charcuterie says that the Hungarian paprika sausage, which is similar, is cold-smoked for 2-4 hours or until a deep rich golden brown, then hang them in a cool, dry space for 3 days.

Homemade Romanian style bacon (
Leila's recipe)
for each quart of water (1 liter) you need
3/4 cup (150 g) kosher salt
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dry summer savory (or thyme)
1/2 garlic head (about 6-7 garlic cloves, peeled)
~ Bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and add the salt, the ground pepper, bay leaves, the peppercorns and the savory/thyme. Smash the garlic cloves with your knife and add them to the brine. Let it cool.
~ Put the pork belly (you could also use fresh hocks or shanks) in a container that has a lid. Pour the brine over the meat only to cover it. On top of the meat place a chopping board or plate and a couple of cans or a brick (something heavy) to hold the meat down and submerged in brine.
~ Keep the container in a cold and dark place. Turn the meat around every 3 days. The pork belly and the hocks or shanks have to stay in the brine for about 21 days. (I kept ours 17 days only, then it went to smoke so we can get it back in time for Christmas.)
~ Take the meat out of the brine, rinse it in cold water, and pat it dry. Hang the meat uncovered in a cool, dry and dark place (the refrigerator is fine) for about 10-15 hours.
~ Smoke the bacon for about 3-4 days, making sure the smoke doesn't get too hot. Leila says the best smoke comes from corn cobs, wood chips, or grape vines.
Carnati si Slanina de casa

Stiu ca a venit primavara si ca peste tot in blogosfera au rasarit poze pastelate, luminoase, cu salate, supe, deserturi si alte mancaruri usoare si de sezon, dar saptamana trecuta am citit din nou despre afumaturi pe blogul lui Mike & Sherry de la Menu in progress, si pentru ca in ziua aia nu am mai fost in stare sa tin post si m-am dus acasa si am facut niste carnaciori la gratar, m-am gandit de ce sa nu si scriu despre asta, desi pozele sunt de acum 3 luni. Si pentru ca vorbeam de blogul lor, voiam sa spun cat de mult imi place mancarea lor simpla si autentica, de la afumaturi si carnati, la gratarul tipic american barbeque, la mancarea mexicana si asiatica si toate celelalte, totul aratand atat de bine fara fasoane si fite culinare (nu ca nu mi-ar placea si genul acela).....
Desi am ajutat-o pe mama la vremea Craciunului cand pregatea de-ale porcului, nu m-am gandit niciodata ca o sa pregatesc asa ceva AICI, pana cand Leila, o bucatareasa absolut minunata de pe Retete Culinare a postat niste poze cu slaninile si suncile pregatite de ea, si unica scapare sa nu mai poftim ca disperatii a fost sa incercam sa le facem si noi
Asa ca am facut primii carnati in Decembrie 2007, nu fara oarecare teama, dar nu i-am afumat, ca nu am avut unde. Tot atunci am facut si toba (tot multumita Leilei) si niste slanina. Si pentru ca nu mai gasesc pozele pe calculatorul meu, cred ca sunt pe al Clarei si ala si-a dat duhul de vreo 2 luni, pun aici
link-ul cu pozele de pe forum (si uitandu-ma la poze acum, mi-am adus aminte ca poate curand ar trebui sa scot de la naftalina si torturile, poate in saptamanile ce vin).
Tot cam atunci am descoperit si pancetta (slanina neafumata) si toba de pe
Menu in progress, si mi-a picat cu tronc blogul lor, mi-a dat curaj sa vad ca si aici, unde e cald si insorit mai mereu, poti sa incerci sa faci asa ceva.... iar in ultima perioada, de cand si-au luat si afumatoare, m-au imbolnavit de-a dreptul, de pofta si invidie, asa ca a trebuit sa afumam si noi cumva carnatii si slanina noastra. Bineinteles ca nu acasa, e imposibil la bloc, la parter, nu ca nu ne-a trecut prin cap, dar cand am fost si am cumparat matele pentru carnati, macelarul mi-a zis ca daca vrem, le pune el la fum 3 zile. Nu cred ca puteam sa-i dau vesti mai bune lui Gabi, care a fost mai incantat si innebunit de toata povestea asta cu carnatii si slanina si decat mine. Clara astepta mosul, Gabi carnatii....
Anul asta am facut doua feluri de carnati, si trebuie sa ma credeti cand zic doua, pentru ca nu apar decat unii in poza. Am facut carnati de porc, pe care ii vedeti mai sus, si altii din vita si miel, subtirei si picanti, care au disparut de pe masa in vreo 10 minute, pentru ca nu am avut decat 1.5 kg pentru vreo 15 persoane. Tuturor le-a placut gustul de miel si boiaua iute, asa ca stim ca trebuie sa-i facem din nou Decembrie ce vine. Si cand te gandesti ca i-am facut numai pentru ca ne ramasesera mate si nu mai aveam carne de porc (desi am luat vreo 7 kg de porc si 2.5 de grasime). Asa ca am amestecat un kilogram de carne de vita cu o jumatate de miel, am schimbat putin condimentele si am folosit mate mai subtiri. Si am facut si lebar (asa ii zicem noi la caltabosul fara orez), din ficat, carne tocata, plamani, soric cu grasime, pe care l-am fiert si servit apoi rece, taiat felii, cu mustar si hrean. Si din nou nu am poze pentru ca eu eram la bucatarie si nimeni altcineva nu s-a gandit, am impresia ca se simteau prea bine :)).
Am dus toti carnatii si slanina la afumat pentru 3 zile si de-abia asteptam sa-i luam inapoi si sa-i incercam. I-a tinut macelarul la fum rece de luni dimineata pana miercuri la pranz. Numai slanina nu a fost moale si gatita, cum e cea de acasa, ci cum e baconul astora de aici pe care trebuie sa-l prajesti. Dar l-am rezovat noi - fiert in apa cu boabe de piper si cateva frunze de dafin, vreo 20 de minute, numai bun cu niste ceapa si gogonele (productie proprie) si o tuica fiarta cu zahar si piper, cum cere traditia :). ***Stiu ca unii fierb slanina in zeama de varza, dar a noastra era deja sarata si zeama de varza ar fi sarat-o si mai tare, asa ca apa a fost numai buna.
La Craciunul ce vine promit poze cu toate si retete pentru ele. Promit.

Si asta e reteta pentru carnati asa cum am facut-o noi:

3 kg carne de porc
1 kg grasime de porc
2 capatani de usturoi
3 linguri de sare
2-3 linguri piper macinat
2 linguri cimbru uscat
1 lingurita ienibahar
2 linguri boia dulce
mate pentru umplut
~ noi am tocat carnea prin sita mai mare, sa fie mai grunjoasa, iar grasimea prin sita obisnuita, mai micuta, dar daca nu aveti masina de tocat, rugati macelarul sa o toace pentru voi.
~ Se piseaza usturoiul cu sarea si o cescuta de apa pana se face un mujdei.
~ Se amesteca bine carnea, condimentele si mujdeiul, pana se omogenizeaza, dar nu prea mult sa nu devina pasta. Se gusta carnea sa fie suficient de condimentata (Gabi o gusta cruda intotdeauna, in ciuda protestelor mele de fiecare data, dar se poate si altfel - prajiti o bucatica de carne in tigaie si gustati-o sa vedeti daca ii lipseste ceva).
~ Se umplu matele fara sa se indese prea tare si se rasucesc la fiecare 15-20 cm. Se pun carnatii la frigider peste noapte neacoperiti sa se zvante sau afara, daca e destul de frig, sau intr-un beci sau alt loc racoros si uscat.
Noi nu i-am afumat noi, asa ca nu pot da sfaturi la capitolul asta, dar puteti sa vedeti cum au facut
Sherry si Mike pe blogul lor. De asemenea, in cartea Charcuterie au o reteta pentru carnatii unguresti cu boia care sunt tinuti la fum rece timp de 2-4 ore sau pana o culoare maroniu-roscata, apoi la uscat intr-un loc rece si uscat pentru 3 zile.
Slanina - Reteta Leilei (In ghilimele de la cap la coada, pentru ca ii apartine Liei in totalitate)

"Saramura lichida pentru carne (pulpa din spate a porcului, ciolane si slanina):
La 1 litru de apa se pun:
150 g sare
3 foi de dafin
1 lingurita piper macinat
10 boabe de piper
1 lingurita cimbru (sau o crenguta mai mica)
1/2 capatana de usturoi
~Se pune apa sa dea intr-un singur clocot, apoi se adauga sarea, piperul macinat, dafinul, boabele de piper si cimbrul. Usturoiul se zdrobeste cu lama cutitului si se adauga la saramura. Se lasa saramura sa se raceasca.
~ Se pune carnea, slanina sau ciolanele intr-un vas suficient de mare si cu capac (Lia foloseste o caldare) si se toarna saramura peste ele cat sa fie acoperite. Se pune deasupra un fund de lemn si o greutate sa le tina presate sub saramura.
~ Se pune vasul la un loc racoros si fara soare si din 3 in 3 zile intoarcem bucatile de carne.
Slanina o punem separat in saramura. Sunca (pulpa) se tine in saramura 30-35 de zile. Ciolanul se tine 21 zile. Slanina - 21 zile.
~ Dupa ce bucatile au stat suficient in saramura, se scot si se clatesc in apa rece, se sterg cu un prosop uscat si se pun la zvantat intr-un loc bine aerisit timp de 10-15 ore. Se pun apoi la afumat unde se tin pana prind o culoare roscata cca 3-4 zile, dar trebuie avut grija ca fumul sa nu fie cald. Fumul cel mai bun este cel obtinut prin arderea lujerilor de porumb sau din rumegus. La tara se mai foloseste ptr afumat ramuri de vita de vie, se spune ca este cel mai bun fum."

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