The Hitchhiker's Guide to Ancient Cookery
with your host
Alexandre Lerot d'Avigné
(Number 42 in the Series, September 2009)
Every now and then, I invite folks over to muck about with food; this
is the elegantly named "Alexandre's Erratic Cooking Thing." The latest
installment, August 30, was a festival of pork! Specifically I wanted to
make a bunch of sausage.
None of the sausages I made are specifically period in this case, although
one is probably close. Really, the day was all about technique, which is
applicable to sausages period and otherwise. Thus it was that Friderich
and Lilie, Jaji and Sarah, and Betty Spaghetti and her brother arrived
to watch me play with meat.
There were four things I wanted to make, which had expanded to five when
it looked like it was going to be a party. They were as follows:
Let's begin with the Bresaola. I essentially use a recipe from "Charcuterie,"
by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. The book is highly recommended, since
it not only gives recipes, but also gives the technique and process
information behind the recipes. The Bresaola is as close to a foolproof
cured meat recipe as I've found. Here's what I used:
- Bresaola, a whole cured beef muscle (ie. not ground)
- Hot Italian Sausage, a fresh sausage, not period
- Saucisson Sec, simple dry cured sausage, nothing in the ingredients
or method out of period
- Spanish Chorizo, a fermented dry cured sausage, with out of period
ingredients and a method which, while probably period, was
executed in a non-period fashion - more on that later.
- Liverwurst, an emulsified, cooked sausage, with mostly
period ingredients, but I have no idea at this time if the
technique is period.
Grind all the spices, salt and sugar together and rub half over the meat.
Put the meat in a plastic bag in the fridge for a week, turning every day or
two. Dump the liquid out, rub the other half of the cure mix onto the meat
and let sit another week, turning every day or two. Dump the liquid out,
pat dry and hang to finish drying.
- 1.11 kg eye of round, whole. Quality matters here.
- 26 g salt
- 32 g sugar
- 4 g DC Curing Salt #2
- 5 g black pepper, ground
- 6 g fresh rosemary
Careful readers will have noted "DC Curing Salt #2" in the ingredient
list. Old-school readers may have noted a lack of saltpetre in the recipe.
These two are related. DC (sometimes called DQ) Curing Salt #2 is salt which
has had nitrites and nitrates added to it, specifically sodium nitrite and
sodium nitrate. This is both handy and important. It is important because
the nitrates and nitrites prevent nasty bacteria from growing, and botulism
in your sausage is a bad thing. It is handy because you don't need a whole
lot of either to get the job done. The proportions are something like 4%
sodium nitrate, 6.75% sodium nitrite and 89.25% sodium chloride (salt).
That means in the recipe above, I'm using .16 grams of nitrate and around .25
grams of nitrate, which is hard to measure effectively.
More to come!
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Comments are welcome.
Alexandre Lerot d'Avigné, Jeff Berry, firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Jeff Berry
Originally webbed: 9 September 2009
Last modified: 16 September 2009