I have done fresh sausages, dried sausages like salami, cured meat like bacon (and currently in the process of making guanciale) and I am looking for something new to do. And I have found it! I was initially reading about bologna, or baloney, and found mortadella which seemed to be up my alley.
Mortadella is finely ground meat studded with fat (OF COURSE!) and pistachios. And honestly, it seemed so easy to make that I wonder how come it’s not commonly available. I guess not everybody likes it, or simply, not everybody is into going into this kind food experiments and play to bother.
I followed this recipe to an almost perfect tee, weighing everything as needed. But failing in the sous vide part. 😦 I left my pot alone and it ended up boiling, making a mass out of the mortadella with the liquid cooking out into the ziploc bag (thank goodness only to that). Well, and I didn’t poke holes in it, which is a bad thing too. But the practice of making it into thick rolls using only cling wrap is harder than I thought it would be. Actually, I initially thought it was easy but it doesn’t really hold up as well as real hog casing does. But I really didn’t want small slices of it. I want big, but thin slices. 🙂
So just follow the recipe as linked above and be more obedient than I am. But damn, this really turned out better than I expected it to. I was so happy that I gobble up a few slices every now and then when I am feeling hungry. Of course, this is not a low fat snack, hardly. But it is really damn tasty.
Note: it is only now that I have been using cloves extensively in my recipes. I always found it too sweet and strong for my taste. But the subtlety of it when partnered with pork is really great. I never knew that a spice can both counter (the porkiness) and highlight the meat at the same time. I am still unsure on where else to use, or experiment with it freely. But it allows me to use cloves now. 🙂
Mortadella Recipe as copied from link above, but I only did half of the recipe
1850g Ground Pork Shoulder
250g Ground Pork Fat
250g Cubed Pork Fat (blanched in salted boiling water for 1 minute and shocked in ice water and kept refrigerated)
55g Kosher Salt
10g InstaCure #1
4g Whole Black Pepper
3g Whole White Pepper
1.5g Whole Nutmeg
1g Whole Caraway Seed
1g Whole Clove
1g Whole Cinnamon
10g Minced Garlic
125g Shelled, Whole Pistachios
2ea High Barrie Sausage Casings
A Thumb Tack
Cotton Butcher’s Twine
Extra Large Freezer Bags
1. Assemble all ingredients, taking care to keep the meat and fat cool. They will both need to be kept below 15 degrees Celsius the entire time. If you’re not sure, chill the meat for 15-20 minutes. You want everything cold. Fill your mixing bowl with ice water and store it in the fridge until you need it.
2. Blend all the spices until they are as finely ground as possible, to ensure even distribution. Soak your sausage casings in tepid water.
3. Pour out the ice from your mixer bowl (keep the ice, you will need it again). Combine the ground pork, the ground pork fat, the curing salt, the kosher salt, the garlic and the spices. Mixed on medium speed for 3 minutes to ensure everything is well incorporated.
4. Remove the mix from the mixer and chill for 30-60 minutes. Replace the ice in the mixer bowl. You will need the mixer again and you’ll want it cool.
5. Working in small batches(around 1/4 at a time), puree the mixture in a food processor. Add small amounts of ice water to lubricate the meat. Only add as much is needed to keep the meat moving to get a good, smooth purée. The processor will heat the product while it processes. Keep this is in mind. Work quickly, and don’t over work the meat. It needs to stay cool(below 10-12 degrees) to maintain a smooth emulation of fat and meat.
(Here is the texture you are looking for, smooth and well blended.)
6. Place the meat back into the chilled mixing bowl. Add the Cubed Fat and Pistachios. Mix them in on low for 2 minutes.
(Check the temperature periodically to ensure it is nice and cool.)
7.a) Now time to stuff your sausage. If you are using a sausage stuffer go to step 7 b). If using plastic wrap, lay out 2 feet of wrap. Lay on another 5 layers on top of it, each time making sure to remove the air between layers. Lay out a log of filling, you are aiming for a 5cm diameter tube. Work on each sausage individually. Refrigerate the remaining filling.
Roll up your tube as tightly as possible. Try and keep it as air-free as you can. With a 60cm piece of string, tie a butcher’s knot at one end, then the other end with another long piece of string.
Using a Pin or thumb tack, prick the sausage all over. Aim for at least 2 holes per square cm. Lots of holes.
Now, using the length of the string, wrap the sausage tighter and tighter. The holes you have made in the plastic will allow excess air to escape. Once you have tightened both ends, tie them off. It should feel very tight, light an inflated bike tire.
10. Cook your sausages as close to 60C as possible for 3 hours. Then chill them overnight before cutting into them. All that’s left to do is slice, serve and enjoy!